Waterford Airport can boast of possessing an aircraft maintenance facility now working from morning to dusk, namely Airport Technical Support Ireland (ATSI).

ATSI’s Chief Engineer and General Manager James Flynn heads a staff with a distinctly international flavour, ranging from countries as diverse as Russia and Zimbabwe.

Among his previous professional experiences, James can list enjoyable stints with Swiss International Airlines, City Jet and the Irish Air Corps, where he received his initial training and served his apprenticeship.

A Ballycotton resident, James commutes daily to Waterford.

James and his ATSI staff possess a wide range of experience, including Tramore-based Edouard Pojarski, who once flew Mig fighters in the Russian Air Force.

“If you are in the Russian Air Force, not only must you fly but you must also be able to maintain the aircraft,” said Edouard. “Because of this, I have both engineering skills and piloting knowledge, so I can diagnose any aircraft problems from both perspectives.”

And how has he found Ireland? “I love it here. This is where my family and I are settled and we are very happy here.”

During our visit, we also met Zimbabwean Andre Scholtz, who is head of avionics at ATSI.

He previously worked for Ryanair and also worked for a time in Europe on the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner which flies now from Dubai to Singapore and Sydney with Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airlines.

He also worked for Bendix King, the major aircraft instrument and electronics supplier to the world’s general aviation market.

“I’m really happy to be based in Waterford,” said Andre. “Being away from the stress of the big cities and helping to developing a smaller firm is proving most rewarding and enjoyable.”

The ATSI team is looking forward to the expansion of the airport’s runway, bringing with it the possibility that potential new airlines would be able to avail of its on-site services.

“I’m very proud of our on-site line maintenance operation,” said James Flynn – and with good reason.

“It is great to work in a small firm with a good staff and a real can-do attitude when compared to other, bigger firms. And I firmly believe that this attitude will allow the firm to grow as the airport expands.”