Orders worth a total of £8.2million including the supply of components for France’s top fighter aircraft have been announced by Ronaldsway Aircraft Company.
Managing director Nigel Brown said it was fantastic news for the Ballasalla business which employs 220 people.
And he wants to recruit more skilled people on the shop floor,
He spoke shortly after a high profile visit to the factory led by economic development minister Laurence Skelly and the DED chief executive Chris Corlett.
Mr Brown told Business News there had been a ‘significant uplift in our order book.
‘We have won a new order to supply components worth £1.2 million over three years. These components will ultimately go in the French-made Rafale fighter aircraft.’
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. It has a top speed of 1,324 mph.
Mr Brown added: ‘In addition to that we are about to sign an extension to a current contract which will be worth somewhere in the region of £7million over five years. This will be to supply a major aircraft engine manufacturer based in Poland.’
And in another move, a potentially lucrative deal, to provide precision machine components to an American subsidiary of a major UK firm, could also be on the cards soon.
Asked what the deals mean for the company Mr Brown said: ‘What we are doing is we are building up the company to where we want it to be.’
Business News first told of Mr Brown’s plans to build the business in June when he declared: ‘This company means business.’ He is keen to promote a new era for the proud island company which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and is a leading player in the Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster.
He now has a sales team in place and he has taken on a business development manager.
Mr Brown added: ‘We need more skilled people in the factory. I could employ eight more people tomorrow if I could find them.’
Mr Brown says there are significant opportunities within the aerospace supplychain and he is also looking to diversify into other markets.
Staff on the shop floor, including the four apprentices recently taken on full time, as reported in Business News, have been told of the new orders with France and Poland.
Mr Brown, who has held senior positions with manufacturing outfits in the UK and abroad, is full of praise for the support of the island’s government, which he says is unlike anything he has encountered elsewhere.
And he is delighted with the dedication of the work team. ‘We have a very loyal committed workforce here. A lot of people have worked for this business for a very long time.’