Cardiff Aviation has taken a lease on the Welsh Government owned 132,000 sq ft Twin Peaks hangar at St Athan to establish a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operation.
As well as maintenance of airliners and other large aircraft for several major and independent airlines, Cardiff Aviation will have facilities to complete the full range of ancillary aircraft maintenance and training activities and has the expertise and approvals to certify aircraft from many jurisdictions, including the USA.
Welcoming the announcement, Mrs Hart described it as strong vote of confidence in the Welsh Government’s plans to develop a centre of aerospace excellence at St Athan.
"I am particularly pleased to hear the company is keen to take on skilled mechanics previously employed by the Defence Support Group, create hundreds of highly skilled engineering jobs and also plans to establish an on-going apprenticeship programme as the business grows.
"We have been working closely with Bruce Dickinson and Cardiff Aviation on this exciting project for some time and delighted it has come to fruition. This is exactly the type of investment needed - bringing money into the local economy while also providing an international promotion for St Athan Aerospace Business Park and the Aviation Enterprise Zone.
"We have a strong dynamic aerospace sector in Wales and this investment will build upon the skilled workforce that already exists in the area, providing a range of career opportunities. This type of flagship operation will provide a great start for the new Aviation Enterprise Zone."
Bruce Dickinson said:
"We’ve had fantastic support from the Welsh Government – we’ve been impressed by how pro-active they’ve been; they’ve really wanted to make this happen, and we’ve experienced a level of enthusiasm and drive that has been a delight to behold.
"We’re coming into this enterprise with the knowledge that we’ll also be bringing business to South Wales – a cautious projection is that we’d expect to create up to a thousand jobs within 18 months based on the level of interest and commitment from aircraft manufacturers and operators. South Wales has long had an association with the aircraft industry and I am delighted that I am able to have a small part in the continuation of that tradition."