Taking off in Europe
After years of monitoring aeroplane safety in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan, Porirua company Radiola Aerospace is setting its sights on more green and pleasant lands.
After spending 18 months and $300,000 on its application, the air navigation specialist was awarded certification in August by British aviation authorities to expand into Europe.
Certification tops off a stellar year for eight-year-old Radiola, which has increased its turnover by nearly 50 per cent, managing director Brent Albiston says.
‘‘The workload’s just increased so much.’’
Its team of 15 staff based in Porirua’s CBD will increase next year as the company begins to gain European contracts, and establishes a new office in Stockton-on-Tees, Yorkshire. ‘‘We’ve got a big investment in setting ourselves up in the UK and that’s now our major area of growth,’’ Mr Albiston says.
The company’s origins are in radio communications equipment manufacturer AWA, founded in Porirua in 1974. Radiola formed in 1990 after AWA was sold, and took on its current incarnation as a navigation specialist in 2003.
Radiola installs and maintains ground-based navigation systems which allow aeroplanes to land safely at night and in bad weather.
The systems must be monitored every six to 12 months from the air using equipment installed in test planes.
The company has worked in 40 countries in the last five years, including at military and civilian airports in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Radiola’s Porirua-based engineers and testers work in those countries often in unsafe conditions, but most are ex-air force and up to the challenge, Mr Albiston says.
‘‘They know how to handle themselves in tough places.’’
While most of Radiola’s work is offshore, the company has no plans to relocate its headquarters from Porirua.
‘‘There’s no need to move the headquarters anywhere because with modern communication nowadays there’s no problem,’’ Mr Albiston says. ‘‘It’s just been a great place.’’
Winging ahead: Porirua aeroplane navigation company Radiola Aerospace has just received certification allowing it to expand into Europe, capping off a stellar year, managing director Brent Albiston says.