Belfast Telegraph

Helicopter firm looks south to pad out profits with help of Invest NI

By Margaret Canning

A helicopter business in Mid-Ulster is investing nearly £50,000 in chasing new business outside Northern Ireland.

While the downturn has grounded the helicopters of one-time tycoons like Sean Quinn, Aero-Heli targets those who require helicopters for industrial operations and emergency response services.

Dermot Fahy, who founded the high-flying hire and maintenance business in 2009, said: "Our research has indicated that there are significant opportunities for the range of expert and highly competitive services that we have developed successfully in Northern Ireland."

Mr Fahy said recent projects included providing transport for Arctic researchers in Greenland.

The firm, based in Mid-Ulster but flying out of Newtownards, is now looking at projects in the Republic such as contract work.

Mr Fahy added: "As a result, contracts outside Northern Ireland now account for around 5% of our business. I believe that we can build this to upwards of 40% by 2013."

During a visit to the company Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said its assistance - which amounts to nearly £15,000 - would help Aero-Heli improve brand awareness in target markets.

"This will enable the company to attract attention particularly among potential clients requiring helicopters for a range of operations including monitoring and maintaining pipelines and electricity grids and also for emergency response services."

He said Aero-Heli's tight control of operating costs had enabled it to stay competitive.