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Posted in: Business
Published on: 12th January 2024
A Teessider who founded a world-leading aircraft painting firm is returning to his roots by setting up a new base at Teesside International Airport.
Steve Darbyshire is the founder and Chief Executive of Airbourne Colours – a world-leading company which paints aircraft from around the globe.
Now the 49-year-old’s company has been confirmed as the tenant for a major new hangar under construction at Teesside Airport – with 40 new jobs in the offing.
Airbourne Colours has annual turnover of more than £10million – and works for many off Europe’s leading airlines including EasyJet, Jet2, Loganair, TUI, Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines to name a few.
Airbourne Colours is Europe’s only privately-owned aircraft painting company, with only one other competitor in the UK and is investing £6.5million in the establishment of a base on Teesside.
British Steel for the new base will now be erected as the project progresses.
Steve said: “Little did I know that after 14 years since Airbourne Colours’ inception in a location over 300 miles from Teesside Airport, I would get the opportunity to return back to my roots.
“It fills me with great pride to be part of this journey, to be able to contribute to the regeneration of the airport, and provide well paid jobs in Teesside. This is a personal childhood dream come true.”
The Airbourne group employs more than 150 people at its sites in the UK.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen was extremely pleased with the new arrival.
He said: “This is more great news for our airport which is making its mark on the aviation scene.
“To have another world-renowned firm set up a base at Teesside is another big vote of confidence in our airport. It’s also good to see a successful Teessider leading the charge.
“This base will mean more high-quality jobs at our airport and bringing more income to fuel our turnaround plan.
“Alongside being named UK and Irish Airport of the Year and clocking up our best passenger figures in a decade, projects like this alongside our international business park mean our airport is delivering fantastic new opportunities for great businesses and driving forward our economy.”
Work is continuing on the 27,000sq hangar after conditional planning approval for the development was granted by Darlington Borough Council in October 2023.
Barnard Castle-based S&A Fabrications is the main contractor on the development, which will be completed in 2024.
More than 230 tonnes of steel will be used in its construction and the development will also include car parking and a concrete apron to access the hangar from the taxiway.
The progress follows recent significant investments from the private sector at Teesside Airport, including a £25million investment from Willis Aviation to create a new engineering base, which will create over 200 jobs.
The first 21,105sq ft unit of the £200million Business Park South has now been built alongside a 1.5km link road connecting the development to the A67. The southside business park will ultimately create 4,400 jobs when fully operational.
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