Safe Air bags $110m contract from NZ air force

Safe Air has won a $110 million six-year defence aerospace maintenance contract with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), for heavy maintenance on selected aircraft and engines. The extra work means it could add up to 50 new staff to its existing 350.

The maintenance contract covers NZAF P3 Orion, C130 Hercules, UH1 Iroquois aircraft and Rolls Royce T56 turbine engines. The contract gives Safe Air the right to carry on using facilities at Woodbourne in Blenheim, with spending on plant or tools for engineering likely to increase.

Safe Air has done work for the Australian air force on C130 Hercules airframes, with existing contracts on P3 Orions and Hercules, including propeller work. It has carried out P3 Orion maintenance work for the Chilean navy.

In addition to the air force contract, Safe Air does work on some Air New Zealand aircraft, with upcoming Boeing 737 work planned in 2008. The deal would give Safe Air an edge when targeting global aerospace maintenance and manufacturing opportunities.