A SOUTH Tyneside business is soaring after landing a £550,000 landmark passenger jet contract.
Precision component company Ford Aerospace will manufacture parts for the multi-billion pound Airbus A350 XWB project, which is set to create more than a dozen jobs at the company, based at Tyne Dock, South Shields, and strengthen its position in the global aerospace industry.
The firm will provide 22 components to be used in the landing gear for the new generation of passenger jets.
Ford, whose order book has more than doubled to £5m in the last 18 months, will make parts for an initial 85 jets due to start test flights next year.
The three-year contract could see Ford, which currently employs 98 staff, creating 10 to 15 more jobs over the next two years.
Initially worth over half a million pounds, bosses said the value of the contract could rise to “many millions” over the lifetime of the aircraft.
Managing director Mark Podmore said: “Ford is a thriving business in a highly-competitive industry and to have more than doubled our forward order book in a year is quite incredible.
“We see it as a reflection of the long-term growth strategy that we have implemented to achieve success globally and of the dedication of our entire workforce.
“This is a major contract win for Ford and further proof of the exceptionally strong reputation we have in the aerospace industry.
“It cannot be overestimated what a coup it is to be involved in the construction of this new generation of Airbus aircraft.”
Coun Michael Clare, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration, economic growth and jobs, said: “I am absolutely delighted with this news.
“Ford offers a high level of expertise in precision components and such growth is key to South Tyneside’s economic revival.
“We hear a lot of doom and gloom in the current climate, so this contract success for Ford is very welcome.”
Ford won the contract from Airbus supplier Middlesex Group Ltd, which has forged strong commercial links with the South Shields company.
Starting in June, Ford components will be fitted to the first 85 planes in the Airbus A350 series.
Ford, which currently exports eight per cent of its products, is also pushing to win new work in China for the C919 aircraft project.