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State-of-the-art aircraft paint facility to be built in Hamilton, NZ

8 April 2011 - Acting Minister for Economic Development, the Hon David Carter, turned the first sod today in a ceremony marking the start of construction of a state-of-the-art aircraft paint facility to be built in Hamilton, New Zealand.

The Minister said New Zealand, and particularly the Waikato region, is fast developing a reputation for excellence in the areas of air training and aviation servicing.

“This plant will certainly boost that reputation and I applaud the Aviation Industry Cluster’s initiative in developing what looks to be one of the best facilities of its type in the world.” 

Construction of the $2 million, 1300 square foot paint facility will begin next week and will be open for business by August 2011.  The state-of-the-art plant integrates the world’s latest spray-painting technologies and will be capable of potentially painting an aircraft 65% faster than any current facility operating in Australasia.

The plant will be located adjacent to the runway at Hamilton International Airport, alongside CTC Aviation Training (NZ) Limited’s airline pilot crew training centre.

Aviation Industry Cluster Chairman, John Jones, says the facility is not only unique for New Zealand but is thought to be a world-first.
 
“As far as we are aware, this facility will be the first of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and may even be a world-first.  Construction of this plant is the result of two years of research, gathering the very latest paint stripping, electrostatic paint application and bake curing techniques.  And, we’re combining them all under one roof. 

“This is not only a coup for the New Zealand aviation industry, this is a facility that will be an asset for the broader Australasian aviation industry as well,” explains Mr Jones. “There are numerous spillover benefits to the region and New Zealand.” 

The paint facility will be built in two stages. The first stage will be completed by August 2011 and will accommodate helicopters through to ATR, Q300 aircraft.  The Cluster also expects high demand for re-painting by owners of the 4000-plus light aircraft currently operating in New Zealand.

The Cluster plans to construct the second stage of the facility in approximately three years time, which will be capable of painting passenger aircraft as large as a Boeing 737 and military sized aircraft like the C130 Hercules.

“We estimate stage two of the paint facility will be built in 2014, however this construction timeline could be accelerated if industry demand is high,” said Mr Jones.

Following construction of the first stage of the plant, the facility will employ approximately 10-12 full-time employees. 

John Jones says the facility should provide a boost to the local economy. “Not only will the new paint facility provide around a dozen new jobs in the first stage, the Aviation Industry Cluster also believes the new facility will make New Zealand more attractive and less costly to new aircraft manufacturing companies seeking to establish or expand in the Australasian region.  Having access to a high-end, specialist aviation painting service will be a huge benefit to these types of companies.

“It is hoped that aircraft maintenance work will be required, and that the facility may attract new aircraft assembly plants to the region, creating more jobs and a stronger industry.  The facility will be available to all New Zealand aircraft owners and operators, and to local manufacturers,” explains Aviation Industry Cluster General Manager, Shaun Mitchell.

Hamilton International Airport chief executive Chris Doak says, “The paint facility is an excellent tenant to have located at the airport.  Leasing land to the paint facility is consistent with the airport's desire to facilitate economic growth around the airport especially when it is related to the aeronautical business.
“We already have a strong cluster of aviation related companies located here and we are confident the paint facility will attract further aviation-related businesses to choose our international airport as their New Zealand base.”

Hamilton’s aircraft paint facility is a joint venture project between Waikato-based private investor, IGS Group, and the Aviation Industry Cluster.  The Aviation Industry Cluster will be investing Major Regional Initiative (MRI) funds into the project, granted to the organisation by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

-ENDS-

Media Contacts:

Shaun Mitchell, General Manager   
Aviation Industry Cluster    
021 308 333      
Shaun.mitchell@xtra.co.nz