An award-winning North Wales design and engineering company has landed a deal to become an exclusive supplier for aerospace giant, Airbus.
Wrexham-based Air Covers, which specialises in designing and manufacturing protective covers for both civil and military aircraft, boats and vehicles, has been selected as the custom protection cover supplier for Airbus’ newly launched H145D3 helicopter thanks to Welsh Government support.
The Welsh company will be the sole provider of protective covers for the new aircraft, which is fast becoming the aircraft of choice for emergency medical services, police and utility operators across the world due to its fuel-efficiency and reduced noise footprint. The covers help to protect aircraft, land vehicles and marine craft against damage from corrosion, sand abrasion, humidity, salt, heat and ice, minimising the need for maintenance and subsequently increasing their availability.
Air Covers has just completed an initial order for Airbus, supplying fourteen aircraft, manufactured in Donauwörth, Germany, with its protective covers. The company expects to deliver 30 sets per annum from 2023.
Thanks to the deal, Air Covers is on target to achieve its goal of increasing its exports by a quarter by the end of 2022, compared to last year. Exports currently account for 65% of its trade but the company aims to reach 75% by 2024 by growing its international portfolio and expanding in key growth markets like North America and Australia.
John Pattinson, founder and managing director at Air Covers said:
“We have had a longstanding working relationship with Airbus for over 10 years and being awarded this new contract is testament to the quality of the products we manufacture here in Wales.
“We recognised that many aircraft were not serviceable due to avoidable issues, like weather related corrosion and structural damage from salt and windblown debris. Our products have been designed to directly counteract this and ensure a regularly available fleet. This deal marks the start of our wider export expansion plans as we look to grow the business further.”
Founded by John and Sasha Pattinson in 2006, Air Covers has grown significantly since it was first formed and now exports to over 50 countries across Europe, America, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
The company supplies private and public sector organisations including commercial airlines, luxury yacht manufacturers, special forces and defence agencies. Key clients include Airbus, Leonardo, General Dynamics, Babcock, Rolls Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence, as well as military operators and medical services all over the world.
Key to Air Covers’ export success has been its regular presence at international trade shows, supported by the Welsh Government, which have enabled it to meet prospective customers and directly led to new business.
Looking ahead, the company hopes to target more business in North America and Australia, which it sees as key growth markets, by attending Welsh Government supported exhibitions and trade missions and being introduced by Welsh Government export specialists to contacts within those regions.
“Exhibiting at trade shows is a key part of our export strategy. We work to attend at least four or five each year and they are crucial to meeting prospective clients and building on existing relationships. They also enable us to see the latest industry trends and understand first-hand from engineers and pilots what problems they are facing so that we can continually improve and adapt our products.”