Wednesday, February 6, 2008

MOD to sell helicopter maintenance businesses

MOD to sell helicopter maintenance businesses

A Defence Policy and Business news article
6 Feb 08

The Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) businesses at Fleetlands in Hampshire and Almondbank in Perthshire are to be sold to Vector Aerospace, securing a long term future for the business, it was announced yesterday, 5 February 2008.

These two Rotary Wing and Components businesses undertake vital helicopter maintenance and repairs for MOD rotary aviation units.

Defence Minister for Equipment and Support, Baroness Ann Taylor, said:

"In selling DARA we are confident that we are securing a long term future for the business. This is the best result for Defence, for our Armed Forces, and for the employees.

"My priority is ensuring our forces out on operations have the equipment they need to do their job and it is essential that we continue to maintain our aircraft to the highest standard.

"I pay tribute to the dedicated and highly skilled employees at Fleetlands and Almondbank, doing a fantastic job to support our troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and at home, by ensuring our helicopters are fit to fly.

"If we do not sell, there is no doubt that the businesses at Fleetlands and Almondbank could decline rapidly and probably close within a few years, leading to serious job losses.

"We want to retain such a highly skilled and valuable workforce in Fleetlands and Almondbank. But with decreasing workload due to a number of our aircraft starting to go out of service, diversification into the commercial sector is the best solution.

"We have made this decision very carefully, following widespread consultation including with the Trades Unions. And we have worked hard to agree transfer of employment terms such as pensions. It has not been easy, but it could provide a good future for all those involved in our military rotary aviation maintenance."

Vector Aerospace are a Canadian-based company who specialise in the military and civilian aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul business globally. They were selected by the MOD last July as the preferred bidder for the DARA businesses following an extensive selection process.

Vector Aerospace Chairman and CEO, Don Jackson, said:

"There is a significant amount of synergy between the DARA businesses and Vector's current global operations. We are looking forward to growing the level of support that we are providing to the UK MOD and to working with the employees at Almondbank and Fleetlands to create a Centre of Excellence in European helicopter maintenance. We have expansion plans, and hope to increase our staff numbers as appropriate."