Air NZ unit secures defence aerospace contract

2:30PM Monday August 27, 2007

New Zealand's largest defence aerospace maintenance contract has been awarded to Safe Air Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air New Zealand.

The $110 million, six-year contract renews a long-standing relationship between Safe Air and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Safe Air's general manager Jeremy Remacha said.

It covers total heavy maintenance of the RNZAF's P3 Orion, C130 Hercules, UH1 Iroquois aircraft fleets and Rolls Royce T56 turbine engines.

The contract, which could be extended another five years, also covers the right to occupy the heavy maintenance facilities operated by Safe Air Ltd at RNZAF Woodbourne, in Blenheim, where it has been for more than 50 years.

In addition to the RNZAF work, Safe Air carries out work on some Air NZ aircraft and for offshore civil and military customers.

The 350 Safe Air staff will also fulfil two other New Zealand Ministry of Defence contracts on behalf of lead contractor L3 Communications -- upgrading P3 Orion systems and a life -extension programme on the C130s.

Mr Remacha said the new contract provided a platform for future growth.

"It ensures we can retain the scale and capabilities we need to build our portfolio in the international aerospace market."