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Collaboration leads to new aviation company

International collaboration leads to new aviation company

5 April 2006: Today leading European aviation company FTI Engineering GmbH and Airwork NZ Ltd announced they are working together to establish an independent testing and technical services company for aviation customers worldwide from Christchurch.

The announcement was made at the IMAPP Aviation Symposium, which kicked off in Christchurch today.

FTI Engineering GmbH, a specialised flight test engineering business, and supplier to EADS and Airbus, and Airwork NZ Ltd will provide flight test, integration and qualification services to local and international aircraft manufacturers and operators at the Christchurch International Airport.

Michael Weisel, Managing Director of FTI believes that New Zealand is a very suitable location for this outsource-based business model and will complement their operations in Europe. Mr Weisel noted that the business decision was based on 18 months of extensive investigation with potential customers. The business will focus on the global market, in particular potential in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Our aim is to take 1 percent of the global turnover for this segment. That equates to at least USD$150 million per year. We will provide the customers with a fast turnaround and competitively costed services to world class standards. Our focus will be to carry out selected work-packages for large OEM customers that they regard as non-core or cannot handle because of peaking workloads”, he said.

Hugh Jones, Managing Director of Airwork, sees the venture as an opportunity to get into a new segment of the aviation market.

“Airwork is well established in the local market, and has a small growing international business. This new development will allow us to accelerate our export activities by leveraging international expertise and New Zealand’s advantages,” he said.

Mr Jones cited open skies, high skill levels at competitive OECD costs, good back-up infrastructure, and a helpful Civil Aviation Authority as major pluses.

“FTI Engineering knows that New Zealand is a very aviation-minded country. Our new business will allow us to access technical services and skills from New Zealand's capable aviation engineering industry. The company will be recruiting and training as it develops. The partnership with Airwork gives the business a firm base in New Zealand. This will help us to meet the needs of our existing customers and enable us to service new ones,” Mr Weisel said.

Mr Weisel said that New Zealand Trade and Enterprise had provided valuable help in bringing the partners together.

Guy Tapley, Investment Manager for Aerospace at NZTE, says today’s announcement is part of a wide range of activities NZTE is working on with the aviation industry and the Canterbury Development Corporation.


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