Monday 16 July 2018

Shannon aviation firm bets on Belfast to beat Brexit

David Kerr, CEO, Eirtech Aviation Composites, and Alastair Hamilton, CEO, Invest NI
David Kerr, CEO, Eirtech Aviation Composites, and Alastair Hamilton, CEO, Invest NI

Margaret Canning

AN Irish aviation services company has said a new operation in Belfast that's creating 124 jobs is part of its Brexit-proofing strategy.

Eirtech Aviation Services, which is based in Shannon, Co Clare, said it had also considered locations in the Republic, England and Europe for its composites repair centre.

But chief executive David Kerr said the high level of skills in Northern Ireland, as well as the support of Ulster University and economic development agency Invest NI, had convinced it to set up here.

The Belfast base also mitigates the risk of being cut off from the UK economy after Brexit, he said.

"This Belfast facility is part of our strategy to future-proof the business, ensuring we have access to the Great Britain marketplace post-Brexit."

Eirtech has now established a centre for repairs on commercial aircraft in Belfast under a new limited company, Eirtech Aviation Composites.

Composites are light-weight, high-tech materials which have been developed to replace metals.

Mr Kerr said he hoped that the company might avail of the skills of former staff at aerospace manufacturing Bombardier, which has shed staff in recent years at its operations in Northern Ireland.

And he added that he hoped Bombardier could also become a customer in future for the work it carries out on nacelles.

Eirtech's clients include major airlines such as US giants United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, and WestJet in Canada.

Ten of the new jobs at are already in place, with the remainder to be filled over the next four years.

The new roles have annual salaries of around £35,000 (€40,000).

Irish Independent

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