Posted: April 25, 2013 Filed under: Cardiff Airport & RAF St Athan, Welsh Aviation News | Tags: Aviation, Blog, Cardiff Airport, CWL, DGX, EGDX, EGFF, Enthusiasts, Group, MoD St Athan, Plane Spotters, RAF St Athan, South Wales, South Wales Aviation Group, St Athan, SWAG
An aviation enthusiast website based in the Vale of Glamorgan has reached a significant milestone this month as their number of hits on their blog hit 2 million views.
The South Wales Aviation Group which is an enthusiast website that logs the arrivals and departures of almost every aircraft in and out of both Cardiff Airport and MoD St Athan has been running since 2006. The website was the brainwave of Mr Ian Grinter after realising the benefits of the Internet in recording the aircraft arrivals and departures.
He said “The site was a brainwave of mine back in January 2006. Years ago in the 70s when I started spotting there were quite a crowd of us that would go to the airport when we weren’t at school and collect numbers of visiting aircraft. It got to a stage that we would see aircraft whilst in school or at home and then tried to find out the registrations and would ring each other trying to find out.”
He continued, “We had the idea of keeping a book behind the information desk and whoever visited the airport would write down their sightings in the book, this was a big success and was used a lot. It dawned on me one night that a similar thing could be achieved with the Internet and I set out to find a free site that could work and not looked back since!”
The Wales Air Forum are regular visitors of the website as it provides us with reliable information regarding ad-hoc and diverts movements for both Cardiff Airport and MoD St Athan which makes it possible for us to perform our monthly logs.
The blog also provides information regarding residents based at Cardiff, MoD St Athan, Swansea and Pembrey along with the status of aircraft Hunter Flying Ltd, eCube Solutions LLP and Cardiff Aviation Ltd.
The website is updated by several dedicated individuals throughout the day and night. This ensures that South Wales Aviation Group is a trusted and valuable resource. Many of the members can be seen at the flying club in Rhoose which offers a great vantage point for viewing aircraft and taking photo’s.
View website: Cardiffstathan.blogspot.co.uk
Posted: March 26, 2013 Filed under: Accidents & Incidents, Caernarfon Airport, Cardiff Airport & RAF St Athan | Tags: 10 year, AgustaWestland, AW189, Bristow Group, Bristow Helicopters, Caernarfon, Department for Dransport, DFT, DGX, EGDX, EGHQ, EGMH, EGNJ, EGOD, EGPB, EGPE, EGPK, EGPO, FAR, Humberside, HUY, INV, Inverness, Lee on Solent, Long SAR, LSI, Manston, MoD St Athan, MSE, Newquay, NQY, PIK, Prestwick, RAF St Athan, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, SAR, Sea Kings, Search & Rescue, Sikorsky S-92s, St Athan, Stornoway, Sumburgh, SYY
By Dominic Perry
A long-running procurement programme to outsource and modernise the UK’s search and rescue helicopter operations has finally ended with the award of a £1.6 billion contract to US-owned Bristow Helicopters.
To replace the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force AgustaWestland Sea King fleets, from 2015 Bristow will bring in new AgustaWestland AW189s and Sikorsky S-92s, says the UK Department for Transport (DfT) announcing the award on 26 March. The new operation will be fully active from 2017, it adds.
The 10-year deal, so-called Long SAR, will see helicopters based at a total of 10 sites across the UK. A pair of S-92s will each operate from Stornoway in the Western Isles and Sumburgh in Shetland – existing bases for S-92s under the Gap SAR contract operated by Bristow from this summer – and new locations at Newquay, Caernarfon and Humberside airports.
The AW189s, again two per base, will be stationed at Lee on Solent and Prestwick, and new sites at St Athan, Inverness and Manston airports.
An additional two airframes, one of each type, will be used as spares. Bristow estimates the total capital spend on the new helicopters as being in the region of $1 billion.
Proposing the super-medium AW189 to perform the shorter-range missions comes as little surprise following AgustaWestland’s pledge to create search and rescue helicopter manufacturing capability at its Yeovil, UK factory if it was chosen by the successful operator. This also saw off a potential challenge from Eurocopter’s EC175, which was not offered by any bidder.
DfT claims the new contract will see the creation of over 350 jobs at Yeovil and at a supply hub Sikorsky will locate at Aberdeen to support the S-92 fleet.
Additionally it claims that coverage and reaction speed will be improved by the new operation.
Bristow beat off competition in the final round of the process from UK firm Bond Offshore Helicopters which had solely bid on the short-range element of the contract with the AW189. Canada’s CHC Helicopter had been forced to retire from the bidding in December.
The operator says it will earn around $2.5 billion in revenue over the duration of the contract.
A previous contest, SAR-H, was abandoned in February 2011 after the DfT discovered “irregularities” in the bidding process which had seen a contract awarded in 2010 to the Soteria consortium comprising CHC, Sikorsky and Thales.
Current SAR bases are at Culdrose, Wattisham, Valley, Boulmer, Portland, Lee on Solent, Chivenor, Leconfield, Lossiemouth and Prestwick.
Sourced by Flightglobal
Posted: February 24, 2012 Filed under: Aircraft Engineering/Manufacturing, Military News, Welsh Aviation News | Tags: 75 years, Enterprise Zone, Era Ends, Maintenance, Ministry of Defence, MoD St Athan, RAF St Athan, Royal Air Force, St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, VC10
The last RAF aircraft to be repaired by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at St Athan has flown out, ending 75 years of maintenance at the site.
The remaining 200 workers at the base will be made redundant after the VC10 left at 15:50 GMT on Thursday.
Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns called for the skills of the workforce to be kept within the area.
The Welsh government said it was working to attract new companies, with interest in a new enterprise zone.
Mr Cairns said he was sorry to see the last aircraft leave the site, but the “expert knowledge base” needed to be retained locally.
Paul Lindsay Wales Aerospace Forum
“I’m in touch with the MoD regarding the plans for the super hangar and am optimistic about the outcome,” said the MP.
Paul Lindsay of the Wales Aerospace Forum said it was “a sad day” and “a great disappointment” for the local community.
“There are positives in that we’ve had 75 good years,” he said.
“But the disappointment is that between the Welsh government and the MoD they have invested £240m there over the past 10 years.
“Let’s hope that collectively they decide what the future is for St Athan. The Welsh government and the MoD are working hard to fill the gap.”
St Athan’s history as an aircraft maintenance base dates back to 1938.
The last 200 workers at the repair base will be made redundant
Just before and during World War II many different types of aircraft were assembled, test flown and maintained there by a staff of 14,000, and the base inevitably became a target for German bombers.
By the mid-1990s there were 3,500 engineers repairing fighter jets.
But since then the St Athan site has since endured more than a decade of uncertainty and failed attempts to secure skilled jobs.
In 2000 the Red Dragon Project began, aimed at modernising the ageing MoD facilities there, along with the construction of a £77m super hangar for fast jet repair.
The main tenant for the new super hangar was to be the Defence Aviation Repair Agency, Dara.
Gradually wound down
But in 2005, UK ministers announced they were closing the fast jet business at St Athan, with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
In March 2009 the National Audit Office and the Wales Audit Office criticised both the MoD and Welsh authorities after it had cost the taxpayer £113m and failed to deliver thousands of jobs.
The then Defence Minister Quentin Davies revealed in November 2009 that nearly 340 jobs would be lost at the base in south Wales by June 2013 at the latest.
In October 2010, a £14bn defence training academy which would have created 2,000 jobs at St Athan was scrapped as part of 8% cuts by the UK government to the defence budget.
At that time there were around 400 civilian staff left at the base.
But the operation has been gradually wound down as the contract to service the VC-10 tanker aircraft came to an end.
Mr Lindsay added: “The buildings are there. It’s available. Let’s hope somebody else comes.”
The Welsh government said there was significant private sector interest in the newly designated St Athan Enterprise Zone.
It said it was working to attract new companies to the area capable of creating sustainable jobs for local people.
A spokesman said Cardiff Airport and other key employment sites and development proposals in the immediate vicinity were now being included in the enterprise zone.
“Potential employers are made aware of the skills mix available,” said the spokesperson.
Sourced by BBC
Posted: February 23, 2012 Filed under: Cardiff Airport & RAF St Athan, Military News, UK Aviation News, Welsh Aviation News | Tags: Defence Support Group, DSG, Enterprise Zone, Historic, Job Losses, MoD St Athan, RAF St Athan, Sad day, St Athan, VC10
More than 70 years of military aircraft maintenance will come to a close at a Welsh former RAF base today, in a move described as a “sad day” by workers and politicians.
The departure of the last VC10 aircraft to be serviced at MoD St Athan – formerly RAF St Athan – marks the end of an era at the Vale of Glamorgan site.
But AMs and MPs last night spoke of their hopes that the base would continue to have a bright future.
Jane Hutt, Vale of Glamorgan AM and Finance Minister, said: “It is a sad day for the highly skilled Defence Support Group (DSG) workforce.
“I am pleased the Welsh Government has recently given St Athan Enterprise Zone status and is keen to develop an Aerospace Business Park at St Athan to create jobs and use the airfield and skills base– like the DSG workforce – in the area.”
The final day of maintenance work on the aircraft, which was due to depart at 3pm, had been expected by workers at the Large Aircraft Business since the phasing out of the ageing VC10 fleet was announced two years ago.
The aircraft, which has been serviced in South Wales for nearly 20 years, was the last military plane to be serviced at the base, which has maintained an array of different military planes since the 1930s.
The DSG base closure has meant the loss of more than 300 jobs.
One worker at the base, who asked not to be named said: “It is the end of an era, but all eras come to an end and we have to move on. Of course it is sad, but we should look forward with hope and optimism.”
The closure has sparked renewed calls for action to ensure that the base is developed by both the Welsh and Westminster governments.
When the announcement of the closure was first made shortly before Christmas 2009, hopes remained high that the development of the £14bn Defence Technical Academy would provide a prosperous future. But that scheme was scrapped the next year by the incoming coalition government.
Meanwhile, it is understood some of the workers who serviced the VC10s in the “super hangar” base have found other contract employment.
The site has also seen the development of the Welsh Government’s Aerospace Business Park, with hopes that training facilities will be developed there.
The Park was recently given a boost with the news that Hunter Flying – which oversees the maintenance and operation of the largest private collection of classic aircraft of its kind – has taken a 10-year lease on two hangars at the park.
The two hangars cover 50,888 sq ft. One will be used for housing and maintaining the aircraft and the other will accommodate the large number of spares and equipment required to keep historic aircraft in an airworthy condition.
The company aims to create new employment for “a number of aircraft engineers,” including those from the DSG, as it diversifies into other areas of maintenance.
Hunter Flying’s chief engineer John Sparks said St Athan was ideal for their plans. “It ticks all the boxes and my wife Nadine and I are excited about the move,” he said.
Meanwhile, British Airways is considering expanding its maintenance operation in Wales with a new base at St Athan.
Alun Cairns, Vale of Glamorgan MP, said: “We now need to capitalise on the skills of the staff who have worked on this aircraft, and make sure that we retain these skills and expert knowledge base within our community.
“The Welsh Government need to act quickly to make their aerospace park become a reality as part of their Enterprise Zone scheme.”
He added: “I’m in touch with the MoD regarding the plans for the super hangar and am optimistic about the outcome.”
Aircraft will be 101 Sqn VC-10 K.3 ZA147/F and is expected to leave at approximately at 15:00 to Brize Norton. The aircraft may perform a flyby however this has not been confirmed.
Information provided by South Wales Aviation Group
Posted: November 25, 2011 Filed under: Aircraft Engineering/Manufacturing, Airline & Route News, Cardiff Airport & RAF St Athan, UK Aviation News, Welsh Aviation News | Tags: 1, 500 jobs, Astraeus Airlines, British Airways, Bruce Dickinson, Engineering, Maintenance, MRO, RAF St Athan, Royal Air Force, South Wales, Wales
Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson plans to create 1,500 new jobs in the aerospace industry
He’s one of rock music’s biggest legends and famous for songs like Number Of The Beast and Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter.
But Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson could also be bringing 1,500 jobs to the Vale of Glamorgan.
Dickinson, also a qualified pilot, is understood to be looking to establish a commercial aircraft maintenance facility at St Athan.
WalesOnline understands he and his backers have identified the empty £77m state-of-the-art aircraft maintenance facility as a location for the venture.
The site has been assigned enterprise zone status by the Welsh Government.
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We can confirm that we are in commercial negotiations with several private sector consortia regarding possible projects.”
The spokesman said that, for reasons of commercial confidentiality, he could not comment on whether Dickinson was behind one of the projects.
However, it is understood that discussions between the two parties have been taking place for several months.
The Welsh Government is also in talks with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to allow the facility to be used for commercial purposes.
The hangar was built to service RAF jets. However, it has remained empty after a decision to move maintenance work to RAF bases in England.
A deal could be struck whereby the MoD sells the hangar to the Welsh Government or potentially agrees to lease it, allowing commercial tenants to move in.
The hangar is large enough to accommodate more than one commercial operator.
First Minister Carwyn Jones has named Iron Maiden as his favourite band. Dickinson flies his bandmates to concerts around the world in a converted jet.
Earlier this week the singer announced he is seeking to acquire out of administration Sussex-based airline Astraeus Airline, where he worked as a pilot and marketing executive.
He and his representatives could not be contacted last night, but on Iron Maiden’s website it said: “Bruce has disclosed he is currently working on a number of new aviation-related projects, some of which may involve his former Astraeus colleagues.”
The proposed St Athan project is understood not to be reliant on Dickinson acquiring Astraeus out of administration.
Business Minister Edwina Hart is expected before Christmas to outline the business support which will be available to firms moving into the aerospace-focused enterprise zone at St Athan – as well as the other four zones in Wales.
The Welsh Government is also in talks with British Airways, which has also identified the hangar facility at St Athan for a new facility.
The airline is considering a number of options for an expansion of its maintenance operations. It currently has two main maintenance facilities, at Heathrow and at Rhoose, where it carries out a wide range of maintenance work on its fleet of aircraft as well as interior fit-outs.
Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/11/25/iron-maiden-singer-bruce-dickinson-linked-with-st-athan-move-91466-29839101/#ixzz1ehzPq46i
Posted: November 18, 2011 Filed under: Aircraft Engineering/Manufacturing, Airline & Route News, Cardiff Airport & RAF St Athan, European Aviation News, UK Aviation News, Welsh Aviation News, World Aviation News | Tags: BA, British Airways, British Airways Maintenance Cardiff, CWL, EGFF, Engineering, Maintenance, MRO, RAF St Athan, South Wales
By: MICHAEL GUBISCH LONDON
British Airways Engineering is searching for additional space for its airframe heavy maintenance operations in South Wales.
The company said it is “exploring a number of options to increase capacity” due to the volume of work scheduled to place at the Welsh site in 2012.
Media reports have linked the MRO business with a military airfield at nearby St Athan, currently home to the UK Defence Aircraft Repair Agency, whose backlog of work runs out next year. BA declined to comment on a potential move for the site.
BA Engineering’s sister company, Iberia Maintenance, has previously ruled out any large expansion of its airframe maintenance operations in Western Europe due to cost pressures.
However, as BA has ordered Airbus A380s, it may follow the lead of its European rivals, Air France and Lufthansa, who built new hangars for the double-deck aircraft at Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt International airports.
Another option for BA would be to outsource some maintenance work on its existing fleet, for example to Iberia Maintenance, and thus free-up spare capacity at the Cardiff base.
Sourced from Flight Global