Operational hours at St Athan Airfield extended

The Welsh Government is upgrading services at St Athan Aerospace Business Park – part of the St Athan-Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone – and extending the operation of the airfield to seven days a week to meet the growing needs of commercial businesses.

The airfield is currently moving to a permanent seven day a week operation, which will be complete by December 15th, when the standard operational hours will be between 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs.

Serco, a civilian contractor, has been appointed to meet the exacting demands of the diverse and growing client base operating from St Athan.

In operating the Airfield Operating Service (AOS), all aspects of running the Airfield are included, from the issue of aviation fuel to the provision of fire cover, ensuring the vehicles are serviceable and able to safely execute the transmission of Air Traffic Control instructions with all its constituent parts.

The investment is set to create 28 high skilled jobs, some of which have already been created with a number of ex-servicemen gaining employment.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said:” This is an important step which will provide far more flexibility for tenants and make the Park and Enterprise Zone even more attractive for businesses looking to locate here.

“We want the Enterprise Zone to be an on-going success and I am pleased we have been able to respond to the needs of businesses operating on the Park and ensure they have the environment and infrastructure for growth.”

The transition of Airfield Operations to Serco will involve a period of dual operations which will complete on 15 Dec 2014 when the last military controllers hand over operational responsibilities to their civilian counterparts in Serco.

The new contract will enable clients of the Park to respond to the demands of the dynamic Aerospace market and cater for the fluctuating demands of Airfield users.

Businesses operating at  the Park – which will also be the base for the new Search and Rescue (SAR) unit –  include: Horizon Aircraft Services Ltd., Dragon Aircraft Engineering, eCube Solutions and Cardiff Aviation Ltd.

The Airfield will continue to operate to the exacting standards of the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) whilst moving toward being regulated by the CAA in 2019. The commercialisation of the AOS is a step toward making this seamless transition in a heavily regulated environment.

Since the contract was awarded St Athan has met a number of significant challenges, and provided operational support for the security operation behind the NATO Summit which required 24 hour cover.

This was in addition to responding to the challenges of its civilian client base, with the airfield receiving aircraft from all over the globe including Brazil, Vietnam, the Congo and Russia.