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Woodgate Aviation firm invests in new £1.5m hangar in Belfast International Airport


Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport

Northern Ireland's largest private aircraft charter business is investing £1.5m in a new hangar at Belfast International Airport to cope with a "significant increase" in demand.

Woodgate Aviation, based at Belfast International Airport, Newtownards and the Isle of Man, was formed in the late 1960s and operates private charters to Great Britain and European destinations as well as offering medical service, cargo and aircraft handling.

Work is at an advanced stage on the new hangar which is scheduled for completion in June 2015.

Woodgate Aviation managing director, John Keen, said that the business has experienced impressive growth.

"This private investment is something we thought a lot about as we wanted it to be a statement to the market about our strength, commitment and belief in growth prospects," he said.

The new hangar will have a dedicated business lounge, a suite of 6,000sq ft of offices and floorspace capable of accommodating aircraft including a Bombardier Global Express, with a fully equipped aircraft maintenance department.

Graham Keddie, managing director at Belfast International Airport, said that the investment is a vote of confidence in the airport and the wider Northern Ireland economy.

Meanwhile, new data published this week by aerospace trade organisation, ADS Group has revealed a record-breaking rate of aircraft manufacture and delivery as industry steps up to meet rising customer demand and a bumper order backlog.

The latest data shows the total order backlog remains strong despite a slowdown in orders in October, growing by 36% since the start of 2012.

By 2032 it is estimated that more than 29,000 new large civil airliners, 24,000 business jets, 5,800 regional aircraft and 40,000 helicopters will be required.

The UK specialises in the development and manufacture of some of the most complicated and high tech parts of modern aircraft.

ADS NI has 74 member companies and the sector contributes over £1bn to the economy here.