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Anderton Visits Business Taking off

February 11, 2005

Anderton Visits Business Taking off

When Minister of Economic Development Hon Jim Anderton visited Pacific Aerospace Corporation today he saw just how busy the company has become.

During the day, the 220 employees gathered for a staff photo, a CT/4E air trainer took off destined for the Royal Thai Air Force, the next PAC 750XL kit was being readied for delivery to Canada and preparations were well advanced for a delivery flight to Sweden – the third PAC 750XL aircraft to Europe in 12 months.

Last month the Waikato-based company announced a $24 million 12 aircraft deal with an American organisation. Further orders have also been received from Europe and Pacific Aerospace managing director Brian Hare says there are steady enquiries for the PAC 750XL from around the world.

"It is pleasing to see strong leads across the civilian and military markets, and to firm up some of the 260 purchase options into aircraft contracts."

To cope with the growth, Pacific Aerospace is considering a new facility to bring its parts and assembly processes into one building.

The company is a key part of the aircraft manufacturing industry in New Zealand and this year will celebrate the 600th aircraft off its production line.

Mr Anderton was clearly impressed with the company's growth.

"Pacific Aerospace is a shining example of a company excelling in high value, high skill innovation and international marketing. Their work in developing technology, processes and products at international standards is a great example of what is needed for New Zealand's economy to reach the top half of the OECD.

"I congratulate them on a job well done and am pleased that New Zealand Trade and Enterprise were able to assist them in developing their growth plans," Anderton said.

The CT/4E taking off today was the last of an order of eight to be delivered, taking the Royal Thai Air Force deliveries to almost 60 aircraft. Pacific Aerospace recently received an order for eight from another Asian market.

Brian Hare says while the company has international orders to fill, getting skilled staff is an ongoing battle, despite a specialised programme run at a local polytechnic.

"Each week we are employing new people, primarily in aircraft assembly. Further appointments are pending, but it's hard to get skilled staff. Fifty of our people have already been recruited from the UK and we continue to need more."

Hare says the staff numbers do not include contractors or suppliers, of which it's estimated there is one for every three Pacific Aerospace employees. On this basis, more than 200 full time positions have been created throughout New Zealand by the PAC 750XL project.

Waikato Institute of Technology offers a 20-week certificate in aeronautical engineering construction for the first time this year. The course can take 16 trainees and places are still available. The new course is in addition to the fabrication foundations certificate, from which Pacific Aerospace Corporation employed 11 graduates following the course.

ENDS

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