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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 07:29 GMT
Flying firm wins 3m contract
Helicopter picking up target
The helicopter uses an under slung recovery system
Wales' only commercial helicopter company has won a 3m defence contract to provide support for missile testing off the coast of Wales.

Veritair, which is based in Cardiff, will station a new helicopter at the former military base in Aberporth, west Wales, to carry out the work.

The company has been awarded the contract by QinetiQ - formerly the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency - to provide helicopter support at the range and a recovery system to fish out targets used in missile tests from Cardigan Bay.

This contract could be the first step in the expansion of Aberporth for defence purposes
Julian Verity, Veritair

Veritair currently carries out similar work at ranges at Benbecula in the Scottish Outer Hebrides.

Captain Julian Verity said the procedure involved demanding and exacting flying and had taken several years to perfect.

"We've been operating at Aberporth on an ad hoc basis for the last four years," he added.

"This contract could be the first step in the expansion of Aberporth for defence purposes."

Aberporth was hit hard in July 2002 when the Ministry of Defence announced that 147 jobs would be axed as part of a defence facility shake-up at the testing base there.

Part of the airfield has been turned into a base for a four-plane air charter service which was launched in May.

Aberporth airfield
The helicopter will be based at Aberporth airfield

The first phase of a technology park there which could create 230 jobs is expected to be completed by next summer.

The air range facility used by the Ministry of Defence is also based near to the airfield.

Veritair was established in 1982 and its headquarters is at a heliport base in Cardiff.

The new twin-engine helicopter being bought for Aberporth will increase the company's fleet to three.




SEE ALSO:
Chocs away for airport park
10 Sep 03  |  Mid
Air charter takes off
02 May 03  |  Mid
Airports' expansion in vision
09 Dec 02  |  Wales
Wales: Hope amid troubles
22 Nov 02  |  Business
Task begins to soften jobs blow
25 Jul 02  |  Wales


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