Invest Northern Ireland Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton has announced that Mid-Ulster-based Aero-Heli is being assisted to expand business in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. Speaking during a visit to the company, Hamilton said: “Our support is geared to the promotion of this entrepreneurial company in its two target markets by means of activities that will increase brand awareness.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.This is an export-led company with a strong commitment to measures that will produce faster growth. The company recognises that the growth it is seeking can only be achieved by means of a concerted and professional drive that enhances its position in markets abroad.The company’s business plan fits perfectly our strategic focus on assisting smaller businesses which are entrepreneurial, innovative and determined to grow sales outside Northern Ireland.”

The company, which specialises in the hire and maintenance of small helicopters for both private and public clients, is investing £46,970 to exploit new business opportunities that have been pinpointed outside Northern Ireland. Formed in 2009 by Dermot Fahy and currently operating from Newtownards airport and a base in the Mid-Ulster area, has been offered assistance of £14,940 from Invest NI towards its export marketing activities.

Mr Fahy, outlining his business plan, 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.  What we offer are the highly professional and value for money services that increasingly cost-conscious clients now require. Over the past year, we’ve had a number of inquiries from potential clients abroad and have carried out a project in Greenland for arctic research support.  We have invested heavily in aircraft and facilities with an outlook to carrying out our own aircraft engineering in the future to help us remain competitive with our own service team to reduce downtime for our clients. We are looking to take on a number of projects in the Republic of Ireland, including aerial surveys and contract work. As a result, contracts outside Northern Ireland now account for around five per cent of our business. I believe that we can build this to upwards of 40 per cent by 2013."

Fahey added, “Invest NI’s guidance and practical support will enable us to move ahead quickly with our marketing activities in Britain and the Republic of Ireland. I look forward to working closely with Invest NI to harness the business opportunities that I am confident exist for our services, particularly from corporate clients and utilities, in both these important markets.”

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