ORDERS SOAR AT PACIFIC AEROSPACE
03 Jul 2016

Aircraft from Hamilton-based Pacific Aerospace are used around the world to deliver aid.

Hamilton-based aircraft builders, Pacific Aerospace, says business is booming after totally filling its order books for this year.

In June, the company - which has the capacity to make 30 small aeroplanes a year - sent a skydive plane to Poland, a utility aircraft to Papua New Guinea and an agriculture and survey plane to Changzhou Nation Hi-Tech District in China.

The orders added up to $6m worth of Kiwi exports. 

Damian Camp is the chief executive of Pacific Aerospace, Hamilton.

Damian Camp is the chief executive of Pacific Aerospace, Hamilton.

 

Now, Pacific Aerospace is gearing up to increase capacity in a joint venture with Beijing Automotive Group, which means its aircraft will start to be assembled in China for the rapidly growing general aviation market there soon.

The company currently produces the popular P-750 aircraft which has multiple uses and also the C2 which is used for aerobatic training. Production of a new "complementary" aircraft is due to be launched soon, but details are being kept under wraps for now.

Pacific Aerospace's chief executive Damian Camp said the firm now had regulatory clearance to export to 56 countries. He said the Polish order marked a resurgence in the market there. Outside island nations, skydiving was a popular leisure use for the planes.

"We have sold 11 aircraft to Europe alone for skydiving," said Camp. "The market is close-knit and involves up building relationships and also working to provide technical support, spare parts and help once the planes have been manufactured and sold.

Camp said smoothing out schedules to keep production flowing for 130 staff was an important part of the business.

"We are not as large as some of our US and European counterparts, and it is important to maintain production as we have high fixed overheads. We hope the Chinese market is going to be a growing one for us in the future. Five of our aircraft are already there and our partnership with Beijing Automotive.

Two years ago, the New Zealand government said data from the International Finance Corporation suggested that China's aviation market would grow an annual 22 per cent starting in 2016.

The Trade Minister at the time, Tim Groser was present for the delivery of the first two of 53 aircraft as part of agreements worth $120 million 

"Relationships like this demonstrate that we don't just export dairy and lamb to China, but also our technology. China is prepared to pay a premium for our wonderful suite of innovative export goods and services, and it's fantastic to celebrate successes like this in the China market - and to build on them," said Groser. 

"It's fantastic to see these relationships continue to develop and grow, reflecting the New Zealand and China agreement more broadly, particularly since we signed the Free Trade Agreement in 2008.

While China and South East Asia present opportunities for Pacific Aerospace, Papua New Guinea was its biggest market with multiple orders for government defence force search and rescue aircraft.

"China, India and Russia are all growth targets for us," added Camp.

The firm's general manager for global markets, Mark Crouch said the company's P-750 model continued to be recognised as the ideal aircraft for many overseas operators.

"We believe it is the world's most versatile utility aircraft which is able to operate in the toughest conditions.

"It is more "Land Rover Defender" than "Range Rover" - but that is what our customers need and demand.

"Our challenge moving forward is to exceed those growing expectations, while continuing to further develop the existing aircraft, as well as exploring new product opportunities."

Source: Sunday Star Times

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