Mountshannon seaplane

News from the Clare Champion about the possible cessation of commercial seaplane activities at Mountshannon. The article reports comments by Mr Emelyn Heaps, chief executive officer of Harbour Flights Ireland Ltd.

Harbour Flights

The Companies Registration Office finds four occurrences of the term “Harbour Flights”, all giving their address as 13 Parnell Street, Ennis, Co Clare. One is a business name; the others are:

  • Harbour Flights (Ireland) Limited
  • Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited
  • Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited.

According to the B1 Annual Return for Harbour Flights (Ireland) Limited to 30 September 2012 [the most recent available], the directors of the company are:

  • Ronan Connolly of Ennis, Co Clare, who is the Secretary; he holds seven other directorships of companies, two of which are Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited and Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited
  • Emelyn Heaps of Tulla, Co Clare; he holds nine other directorships of companies, two of which are Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited and Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited.

In the Clare Champion article, Mr Heaps “said the four directors and five shareholders will meet this weekend”; it is to be presumed that the two extra directors have recently joined the Board. The B1 return does say that the company had five shareholders:

  • Mr Heaps with 300000 ordinary shares
  • Mr Connolly with 300000 ordinary shares
  • Mr Adam Cronin of Cobh, Co Cork with 300000 ordinary shares
  • Mr Stewart Curtis of Bodyke, Co Clare with 100000 ordinary shares
  • Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited with 4152 “A” ordinary shares.

The company’s authorised share capital is €105000 made up of half a million “A” ordinary shares at 1c and ten million ordinary shares, also at 1c; the issued share capital is €10041.52, of which €41.52 is the “A” ordinary shares and the rest the one million ordinary shares at 1c.

The financial statement of Harbour Flights (Ireland) Limited

The company has lodged abridged financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2011 [they refer to the company as Harbour Flights Limited, omitting “(Ireland)”].

The independent auditor said:

There is an excess of liabilities over assets, as stated in the Balance Sheet, and, in our opinion, on that basis there did exist at 31 December 2011 a financial situation which under Section 40(1) of the Companies (Amendment) Act 1983 requires the convening of an extraordinary general meeting of the company.

The abridged balance sheet shows a loss of €103944 in 2010 and €295130 in 2011. The Capital and Reserves section showed

  • Called up share capital 10042
  • Share premium account 26946
  • Profit and loss account (295130)
  • Shareholders’ funds (258142).

The other two companies

The balance sheet of Harbour Flights (BES Nominees) Limited as at 31 December 2011 showed current assets of 100 financed by called up share capital of 100. The company had two directors, Mr Connolly and Mr Heaps, and two shareholders, Mr Connolly and Mr Heaps, each with 50 shares.

The balance sheet of Harbour Flights (Couriers) Limited as at 31 December 2011 showed current assets of 100 financed by called up share capital of 100. The company had four directors, Messrs Connolly, Cronin, Curtis and Heaps, and four shareholders, the same four people, each with 25 shares.

Almost 21 months have passed since then and it is possible that all three companies have prospered greatly since 31 December 2011, especially after flights began in July 2013.


In January 2013 the Irish Independent reported that the company hoped to acquire a seaplane and its own website suggests that it made its first flight in July 2013 and intended to carry 10000 passengers in its first year. However, it seems that the Air Operator Certificate is held by National Flight Centre, Dublin, which says it will be operating the floatplane (seaplane) “in conjunction with Harbour Flights“.

I know nothing of aeroplanes, but the plane seems to be EI-CFP, a Cessna 172, which is said to carry three passengers. Assuming a seven-month tourist season (April to October) and seven-day-a-week operation, there are 214 days available for carrying passengers. The target of 10000 passengers a year would mean carrying 47 passengers a day, which means 16 flights a day, every day.

However, the first year’s operations do not seem to have started until 10 July, leaving only 113 days to carry 10000 passengers. That would mean 89 passengers a day, which would require 30 flights. The shortest flight time is 20 minutes (at €85 a head; longer flights are available) but I imagine that at least ten minutes are required at start and finish for boarding, so the operation must have been working 20-hour days all summer. I haven’t been in Mountshannon for some time, so I was unaware of the frenetic level of activity, but it must have been exciting.


I see that RTÉ reported, on 3 September 2013, a “test flight” to Galway. Such “test flights” have taken place to other locations, eg Cork, although it is not clear what distinguishes a test flight from, say, a marketing opportunity. RTÉ said that the flight was by a Cessna 206, which takes five passengers, but the photo shows EI-CFP, which is not (as far as I can tell) a Cessna 206 but a smaller Cessna 172.

There have been earlier announcements of services, eg to Limerick, where services were to begin in summer 2011. This website mentions an earlier proposed start. Some folk don’t seem confident of the soundness of the original business model.

Lakeland Seaplane Tours, based on Lough Erne, seems to have ceased operations.



2 responses to “Mountshannon seaplane

  1. Pingback: The Southern Star | Irish waterways history

  2. Pingback: The amazing success of Harbour Flights | Irish waterways history

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.