The Niagara Falls Review
40 jobs for ’copter plant
Airbus Helicopters in Fort Erie lands international contract
Growing up i n Fort Erie, Stephen Passero knows it was always a bit of a challenge leaving his grandfather’s place on Gilmore Rd.
“You always knew when it was 4 p.m. because you couldn’t back out of his driveway,” the Fort Erie councillor recalled.
In recent times, however, a rash of closures in the town’s manufacturing sector meant traffic was a little sparser along the rural road.
All that, he said, will soon change with the announcement Tuesday that Airbus Helicopters Canada will add 40 new highskill manufacturing jobs at its Gilmore Rd. facility.
“I’m very proud that even more cars will soon be passing by his house,” Passero said.
“Each car represents an employee, it represents a family, a mortgage, gas and groceries and disposable income to be spent.”
Airbus Helicopters Canada — formerly called Eurocopter Canada — announced Tuesday it will add the new production line, after it was awarded an international contract to make engine cowlings, or removable engine covers, for the EC225 aircraft.
Airbus Helicopters Canada CEO Romain Trapp said the EC225 helicopter is sold in markets around the world and is known as the “workhorse” of the oil and gas industry, where it transports workers to off-shore drilling rigs.
“With this multimillion-dollar investment, Airbus Helicopters is demonstrating its confidence in and commitment to Ontario and Canada,” Trapp said.
“This expansion of our composite department will also help protect the jobs already here as we continue to grow.”
Airbus Helicopters Canada is the largest employer in Fort Erie, with 235 workers.
Trapp said the announcement recognizes Ontario as “a good place to do business, particularly in advanced manufacturing.”
Representatives from the federal, provincial and municipal governments attended the announcement, even though the contract came without government aid.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said co- operation between business and all levels of government is needed to ensure Ontario businesses “from Fort Erie to Fort Severn” remain competitive on a global level.
“We’re competing on a world stage,” she said.
“You all know that, and everyone at Airbus knows that, so we have to be at our best.”
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Minister of State Gary Goodyear agreed.
“We have been working very hard to build on this incredible reputation in the world of manufacturing and growing our aerospace and defence sectors in southern Ontario to make sure our high-tech companies become globally better and more prosperous,” he said.
More than half of the new civil helicopters delivered in Canada over the past 10 years have come the Fort Erie plant, which Passero called “a crown in Fort Erie’s manufacturing sector.”
Airbus will celebrate its 30th year of Canadian operations this year.