Invest Northern Ireland has helped Dungannon-based Mallaghan Engineering Ltd to achieve export success with a catering truck for the new Airbus A380 aircraft, following an investment by the company of over £700,000.
Mallaghan Engineering designs and manufactures a wide range of ground support equipment for the aviation industry, including passenger stairs, baggage handling systems and medical access lifts. Invest NI has offered over £200,000 of R&D support towards the development of the new catering truck.
Technologically advanced and designed specifically to accommodate the huge size of the A380, the truck can elevate over three metres higher than a truck which caters for a standard jumbo jet. The truck will be in operation at Heathrow Airport when the Airbus A380 completes its first commercial flight to the UK on 18 March.
Ronan Mallaghan, Managing Director of Mallaghan Engineering, said: “The Airbus A380 heralds a new era in civil aviation and requires a new standard in ground support equipment which can cope with the challenges presented by the aircraft’s enormous dimensions.
“Our new A380 catering truck addresses these challenges and represents a significant technological step forward for the company. The truck is the result of the dedicated efforts of our workforce and embodies their high skills levels, as well as the emphasis we place on innovation.
Mr Mallaghan added: “The number of A380 aircraft in operation is set to rise dramatically in the next few years and feedback from our early clients has been overwhelmingly positive. This, coupled with our focus on new foreign markets and innovative manufacturing processes, puts us in a strong position to compete globally as the demand for A380 ground support equipment grows.”
Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, said: “The aviation industry is currently experiencing a global upturn and this is presenting lucrative export business opportunities all the time. Mallaghan Engineering has recognised this and has astutely anticipated the need for a specialist catering truck for the Airbus A380.
“The truck is an excellent example of how an ambitious local company can, through innovation and a high standard of technological capability, accelerate its growth year on year in challenging international markets.”
Invest NI provided research and development funding for this project through it’s COMPETE programme, which is part funded by the European Competitiveness Programme 2007 – 2013 under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).