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The Iona Story

Aircraft outside Kildonan hangar, summer 1934.

The Irish Free State was only a few years old when Hugh Cahill established his commercial aviation business. These were the romantic and carefree days of aviation between the two world wars. Initially located at Baldonnel in 1930, he identified the site of Kildonan to create Ireland's first commercial aerodrome. Aviation at Kildonan ceased in 1938 before the outbreak of World War Two.

Hugh's son, Pearse, was involved in competitive motor racing from 1936 to 1953 and this led to his return to aviation in 1956. He established his aviation business at the rear of Dublin Airport. Initially providing maintenance and eventually leading to the formation of a flying school - the Irish Aero Club.

The Iona hangar in 1958, then catering for up to 8 aircraft. The Boot Inn is located to the rear.

Iona's Cessna 404 Titan Ambassador, EI-BUM. Available for air-taxi and charter work.

The business developed into providing aviation services, such as scheduled flights, air taxi, charters, aerial photography and banner towing. By the late 1980's the aircraft fleet had increased - second only to Aer Lingus in numbers of aircraft. Contracts were awarded for the small parcel business and the organisation reached a peak in terms of staff and aircraft numbers by the early 1990's.
The Iona hangar was home for several of the early commercial aviation operations that were established at Dublin Airport. On-going maintenance was provided to dozens of aircraft throughout the years of operation.
Fokker F.27-600 Friendship, EI-FEA, operated by Iona on behalf of Federal Express.
Cessna F172N Skyhawk II, EI-BGH, with the colour scheme Iona Flight Training School.
From the mid-1960's the Irish Aero Club trained hundreds of today's pilots to airline standards. They were the main Cessna agent for Ireland and provided many of the flying clubs in Ireland with training aircraft.


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