£1million investment wins new work and jobs for BAIE
Blackwood based British Airways Interior Engineering (BAIE) has gained approval to overhaul evacuation slides on BA's new A380 fleet of aircraft following a £1m investment backed by the Welsh Government.
The aircraft slides are traditionally maintained by the original equipment manufacturer that made them for Airbus and hence BA is the world's first airline to get manufacturer approval to carry out this work.
It follows a £1m investment by BAIE in new tooling and the reconfiguration of its workshops in Blackwood that was supported by £318,000 business finance from the Welsh Government. The new work will create 15 new jobs and safeguards 23 jobs.
The certification, awarded after BAIE technicians underwent slide maintenance training in Phoenix, Arizona, is particularly significant as some of the aircraft BAIE is currently approved and qualified to work on are due to retire in ten years.
By extending its capability and gaining manufacturer's approval BAIE will be able to carry out inflation systems checks, component repairs and replacement, and slide testing and repacking on BA's eight A380s.
Welcoming the news Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:
"BAIE is a global player and to maintain this status it has to keep changing its mix of products and services to meet the changing needs of the global aerospace sector and the new generation of aircraft.
"This is an important long term investment by BAIE which is now in pole position to win more of this work while the potential for future growth is significant as the rate of orders for the A380 increases annually.
"BA is a key member of one of our priority economic sectors and has strong, established links with Wales where three of its subsidiaries are based and I am delighted the Welsh Government helped secure this additional work for Wales that will also create and safeguard jobs."
Head of Interiors Engineering Ceri Powell said:
“We are delighted to be the first airline to gain the capability for maintaining A380 slides. We have made significant investment in training, tools and equipment to become the only airline to be able to carry out this work and we look forward to supporting the fleet of A380 aircraft.”
BAIE employs a large workforce in Blackwood and is responsible for the refurbishment of interior and safety products on all BA aircraft - the product range includes refurbishing passenger seats, cabin toilet compartments, carpets as well as the overhaul of all safety products including slides and rafts.
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