UPS purchases Shannon


United Parcel Service (UPS), the world's largest package delivery company, has acquired Shannon MRO, an aircraft maintenance company, from Aer Lingus for an undisclosed amount.

UPS will continue to use Shannon as its European fleet maintenance service centre and will conduct a major investment programme to upgrade Shannon MRO's facilities.

The maintenance company, formerly Shannon Repair Service (SRS), has been associated with Shannon Airport since its inception and was taken over by Aer Lingus in 1962. It has been a maintenance provider for UPS for the past two years and will continue with that function, UPS stated yesterday.

Shannon MRO's 120 craft workers service UPS's European fleet of nine Boeing 727-100 Quiet Freighter (QF) craft. This accounts for about 90 per cent of their work.

"The other 10 per cent is attributed to periodic seasonal work performed for other carriers, which will also continue," UPS stated.

An industry source said the sale price could have been between £1 million and £2 million (#2.5 million) for the company whose main asset is its skilled workforce.

Unlike TEAM Aer Lingus, Shannon MRO is a one-bay hangar company, meaning it can only work on one aircraft at a time. UPS is understood to have plans to invest in a $27 million hangar at the Shannon Airport base to replace the existing one which is more than 50 years old. An Aer Lingus spokesman said the business had been sold off as part of the State airline's policy to divest non-core businesses. He said such operations were consolidating worldwide and the deal with UPS was a good fit. UPS has a fleet of more than 500 owned and chartered aircraft. Its European business volume grew by 12.2 per cent last year.

In its Irish operations, it employs about 700 people. Its European Call Centre and Consolidated Services Centre is in Dublin. It also has package depots in Dublin, Cork and Shannon.