Global aircraft maker Airbus Helicopters is expanding its manufacturing plant in Fort Erie, Ont., adding 40 high-skilled jobs to its production line.
The Canadian operation will now make engine cowlings for the EC225 helicopter, a long-range transport aircraft that is often used by the oil and gas industry to take workers to offshore drilling rigs.
Airbus Helicopters, which is owned by the global aircraft, space and defence conglomerate Airbus Group, was until recently known as Eurocopter.
Airbus Helicopters Canada president Romain Trapp told dignitaries gathered for the announcement – including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne – that his parent company's decision to expand the plant "recognized Ontario as a good place to do business, particularly in advanced manufacturing." He said the expansion "also illustrates the vital importance to Ontario of having a strong aerospace industry."
The Fort Erie plant already manufactures composite parts for several of the company's helicopter models. Its 235 employees make doors, cargo pods, cowlings and stabilizers and other components.
Overall Airbus has about 1,700 employees across Canada. It's helicopter component plant in Fort Erie is the largest employer in the town and one of the largest in the Niagara region.
The company said more than half of the new helicopters built for non-military use in Canada over the past decade are made by Airbus. That includes helicopters used as air ambulances, for search and rescue services, and in the oil and gas and mining business.