Blackwood, Wales -- NORDAM Europe Ltd., a leading specialist in aircraft overhaul and repair, is to expand its European manufacturing facility in Wales and double the number of production staff, creating 220 new jobs, as part of a major £8.4 million investment.
The Welsh Assembly Government has supported the expansion project at the company's European headquarters in Blackwood with a £3.3 million Regional Selective Assistance grant.
The news was announced by Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies when he opened MRO Europe, a two day aerospace conference and exhibition in Cardiff.
"The aerospace sector is really taking off in Wales. We are now home to 10 percent of the UK aerospace industry and some of the world's leading companies in the sector.
"I am delighted to announce this latest expansion on the launch of the MRO Europe conference – the largest of its kind in the world - which Wales is proud to host for the first time.
"The Welsh Assembly Government wants to see Wales' aerospace expertise develop and strengthen further and we are backing this up with real action. Last week I launched our first aerospace export cluster to boost the sector's export performance. Today's announcement of RSA grant support shows how we are also supporting the growth of our existing companies while creating top-quality jobs."
NORDAM Europe Ltd. is a joint venture between The NORDAM Group and GE Engine Services, Nantgarw, offering the only full service, completely independent repair facility in Europe.
The company opened its base on Hawtin Park in 1997 to service the entire European market and quickly gained the No. 1 slot in the UK and Europe for their highly specialized services to the aviation industry.
The partnership between GE and The NORDAM Group brought together two world leaders in their field. NORDAM pioneered the repair of bonded structural aircraft components while GE Wales is a world leader in engine repairs.
The WDA played a key role in attracting the original £11 million investment to Wales and has continued to work closely with NORDAM Europe on its latest expansion plans.
The first phase of the new investment involves the construction of 40,000 square feet of industrial accommodation to expand its existing 120,000 square foot facility, with further development planned during the next three years.
Managing Director Tom Wilson said the expansion was vital to meet the growing demand for the specialist services that NORDAM Europe offered and to meet the needs of the next generation of aircraft, particularly the Boeing 777 and Airbus family of jets.
Current clients include a wide range of leading blue chip companies from British Airways to Federal Express.
The company's on-going, leading edge R&D program has already resulted in a number of technologically innovative repair solutions creating 50 of the new jobs in advance of the expansion. The remaining 170 jobs will be in engineering and professional services.
On the same day as NORDAM Europe Ltd. announced this major investment it was also celebrating becoming the first independent MRO business in Europe to gain the highly prestigious JAR 21 (Joint Airworthiness Regulations) accreditation. This allows it to design and approve repair schemes - a huge marketing advantage which provides significant cost savings to airlines.
NORDAM Europe Ltd. has played a key role in the development of a strong and vibrant aerospace sector in Wales, participating and supporting a number of the WDA's business development initiatives and embracing Lean manufacturing principles.
Wilson, who chairs the South Wales Aerospace Group, said the support of the Welsh Assembly Government and the WDA had played a key role in their expansion plans and success in becoming the market leader in Europe.
"Our success has also been due to our workforce and their dedication, enthusiasm and skills. The results speak for themselves and have been outstanding – since we opened in Wales the staff turnover has been virtually nil.
"We have also benefited from the support of local colleges and institutions as well as collaboration with academia which ensures we have access to the latest management and manufacturing processes, plus access to highly regarded facilities and expertise."
WDA Chief Executive Graham Hawker described the expansion as a great boost for Wales' thriving aerospace sector and illustrated how a proactive public sector could significantly help companies in Wales grow their business.
"The expansion by NORDAM Europe Ltd. not only helps boost the local economy with the creation of a significant number of quality jobs, but also benefits businesses throughout Wales through the supply chain."
NORDAM Europe uses the services of a number of Welsh companies spending in the region of £2 million each year.
Founded in 1969, The NORDAM Group is comprised of seven operating divisions that serve a variety of markets within the aviation industry. The company's diverse customer base includes world commercial air carriers, major commercial, regional and corporate aircraft original equipment manufacturers, U.S. and foreign military services, and aircraft maintenance facility operators.
NORDAM currently manufactures, overhauls and repairs a wide variety of engine parts, reversers, and nacelles for commercial, regional and executive aircraft. Other components produced or repaired by the company include bonded flight control surfaces, interior structures, radomes, and aircraft transparencies for commercial, regional and executive jets, and helicopters. In addition, NORDAM operating divisions and affiliates have established important relationships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for aftermarket part and warranty support.
The NORDAM Group is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it has its primary facilities. Other NORDAM plants are located in Fort Worth, Texas, Wichita, Kan., Singapore, and the United Kingdom in Cardiff, Wales. The firm is represented internationally by NORDAM's World Aviation Associates (WAA) with offices in Singapore, Amsterdam, Sydney, London, Hamburg, Lima, New Delhi, and Toulouse.
The Welsh Development Agency is a Welsh Assembly Government Sponsored Public Body whose purpose is to promote the economic prosperity of Wales.
The Agency's roles include promoting employment and the growth of business, encouraging greater competitiveness through enhanced technology and innovation and improving the environment by land reclamation and urban and rural regeneration. Since 1983, the WDA has been responsible for attracting inward investment into Wales and has achieved a track record of outstanding results.
Full information about the Agency and its activities is available on its website at www.wda.co.uk.