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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for State Development, Employment and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable John Mickel

    AVIATION FIRM SPREADS ITS WINGS INTO 50TH YEAR OF BUSINESS

    Minister for State Development, Employment and Industrial Relations
    The Honourable John Mickel

    Thursday, August 09, 2007

    AVIATION FIRM SPREADS ITS WINGS INTO 50TH YEAR OF BUSINESS

    A leading Brisbane-based aviation firm supporting some of the world’s most cutting edge military and civil helicopters continues to soar to success in its 50th year of operations.

    Minister for State Development John Mickel today visited Pinkenba-based Helitech, a division of Sikorsky Aircraft Australia, to congratulate the firm on five decades in the Smart State.

    “Helitech provides world class technical and logistical support in Australasia and South East Asia for operators of Sikorsky and Bell helicopters,” Mr Mickel said.

    “Its history in Queensland traces back to 1956 in Brisbane. Since that time Helitech has grown significantly and established itself as a major provider of a range of aviation services.”

    The company was originally based on the site of the old Domestic Airline Terminal at Eagle Farm Airport, adjacent to the Doomben Race Course and to make way for the proposed Gateway motorway extension the State Government encouraged its relocation to a new site.

    Mr Mickel said the seeds of the company’s foundations were sown by Brisbane entrepreneur Sir Frank Sharpe who was knighted for his services to the aviation industry.

    “Sir Frank and his team obtained the Australian dealership for Bell Helicopters in Queensland and went on to supply more than 250 aircraft to the domestic market,” Mr Mickel said.

    “After a period of ownership by Bell Helicopter and private parties, the business was acquired in 2003 by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (a subsidiary of United Technologies), and it continued to expand and diversify while remaining at the forefront of aviation innovation.”

    Mr Mickel said Helitech provided maintenance, repair and overhaul services for a number of significant military fleets, including the Australian Defence Force’s Sikorsky Black Hawk and Seahawks, as well as Bell’s Iroquois and Kiowa helicopters.

    “In addition to its major defence contracts, Helitech supports civil helicopter operators involved in off-shore oil and gas operations, chartering, search and rescue, as well as emergency medical services.

    “The Helitech Technical Training Centre has skilled hundred of students over the years and it’s one of 10 Queensland-based helicopter training schools of the 16 that are established in Australia.”

    Helitech managing director Glen Battershill said the company’s purpose-built 6,000m2 facility in Pinkenba near the Brisbane International Airport was established in 1999.

    “Helitech today employs more than 200 staff, including 15 apprentices,” Mr Battershill said.

    “We have a commitment to the quality of our services which is based upon the skills of our people. Staff development is a key factor in our continued success.”

    Mr Mickel acknowledged Helitech’s vital role in building Queensland’s future growth and prosperity.

    “Helitech’s ongoing success in Queensland further cements the State as the aviation and aerospace hub for the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

    “Today, 110 of the Australian Defence Force's 160 helicopters are based in Queensland.”

    “All up there are 500 civil helicopters, more than 40 per cent of the national fleet of 1,200. It's estimated that Queensland’s helicopter fleet has doubled in the past 10 years and the industry believes it will double again in the next six years.”

    Media contact: Chris Brown 3224 7349 or Elouise Campion 3224 6784

    Company contact details: Bede Rocks, Commercial Manager, Sikorsky Aircraft Australia Limited – Helitech, 3632 7006, bederocks@helitech.com.au

    9 August, 2007