Base wins first business from Airbus Industrie

Base, the Northern Ireland aerospace engineering design consultancy, has won its first direct business from Airbus Industrie. The company is to carry out interior design work on a commercial aircraft project for the Airbus plant at Laupheim, near Frankfurt in Germany.

The breakthrough contract, which will see Base work with Laupheim engineers on a new project, follows the Dundonald-based company’s participation in an Invest NI mission to the recent Aircraft Interiors Expo at Hamburg.

The company’s latest contract was announced by Peter Hinds, a Base founding Director, and was welcomed by Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, who visited the company today. The company also recently secured business from Jet Aviation in Zurich.

Mr Hinds said: “This is a hugely important contract for us because it positions us on the radar of Airbus as a tier 1 supplier of a range of professional services for both existing and new aircraft projects. It’s a tremendous boost for all at Base because it shows that we have met the exacting requirements in terms of knowledge, experience, expertise and quality of a world leading planemaker.

“We’ve been targeting Airbus for many years, gaining essential marketing experience and leads from various Invest NI initiatives in Europe and North America. As well as increasing awareness of our skills base within Airbus, the contract positions us to develop business with the Diehl/Thales consortium that is expected to takeover the Laupheim factory soon.

“The Laupheim plant currently employs a total of 1,100 employees and produces cabin linings, compartments and air ducts for the complete family of Airbus commercial aircraft, including the A380 SuperJumbo.  Laupheim will also undertake cabin work-packages for the planned A350 mid-size airliner as a tier 1 supplier.

“The factory is being spun-up to enable Airbus to focus its resources on core activities such as aircraft assembly. The new owners are expected to build a network of suppliers to enable them to continue to meet the requirements of Airbus. Our aim is to consolidate our position with Airbus and to become one of preferred partners to Diehl/Thales,” he added.

Tracy Meharg, commenting on the new contract, said: “This is a very significant development for a locally-owned and run company which has long demonstrated an impressive commitment to innovation and international marketing.

“Base has now established itself as a technology leader within the local aerospace sector, a key supplier to the international industry, and has the potential to develop substantial business in other parts of the global marketplace for expert engineering services.

“The company has been working closely with Invest NI to strengthen its capability in key areas such as exports, innovation and management. We look forward to further developments in this relationship as this ambitious company seeks to scale up its operations and to win further contracts in aerospace and its other target industries. Our focus is on encouraging and assisting local companies, particularly those in technology sectors, to scale up their operations for faster growth in international markets,” she added.

Base currently employs around 50 highly skilled people and provides a range of expert services including design, stress analysis and certification for aerospace and other industries. The team has a wealth of knowledge in critical areas including composite structures, fatigue and damage tolerance, systems and vibration analysis.

Airbus is part of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of € 39.1 billion and employed a workforce of about 116,000. The group also includes Eurocopter, the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer, and EADS Astrium, the European leader in space programmes from Ariane to Galileo.