Tak­ing off in Europe

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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