A TECHNOLOGY firm that keeps a UK airport flying says it will create new North-East jobs to strengthen its long-term future.

Onyx Group, which has its headquarters in Stockton, wants more highly-skilled workers to drive forward bold plans to expand its IT services over the next 20 years.

The company, which manages IT for Edinburgh Airport, saw underlying growth rise by 13 per cent in 2013, with turnover approaching £20m.

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Bosses say it has been boosted by the ongoing success of its data centres and cloud computing provision, which provide IT support for a number of companies, including furniture retailer DFS and car repair firm Kwik Fit.

The company, which employs 120 workers across the UK, is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and chief executive Neil Stephenson told The Northern Echo he wanted to oversee another 20 years' growth.

He said: “The 20 years feels like yesterday and we have achieved so much in that time.

“But we want to keep building the business and key to that is all about investing for the long-term.

“We have put in between £15m and £20m in the last seven years, but couldn't invest like that if we didn't have a good business.

“A technology company like us adds a lot of value to the economy and also benefits the region greatly because of the high-skilled quality graduate jobs we are providing.

“We are always looking for good people and looking to grow and I'm sure we will have more employees at the end of the year.

“We are surrounded by five fantastic universities and take graduates from all of them.”

Mr Stephenson, who previously worked in the marketing team at Wearside brewer Vaux, says Onyx's reputation continues to retain repeat high-profile business, which is helping to capture new customers.

He said: “Highly effective IT is at the core of business success, and we have invested in the very best so we can take the hassle and risk out of IT.

“That allows companies to focus on what is most important to them, which is developing themselves.

“Our success is not a one-off and about 90 per cent of our business comes from repeat contacts.

“They see our quality, our superiority to rivals, and that we are not here for the short-term.”

Last year, Onyx, which has data centres in Middlesbrough and Newcastle, developed sites in Edinburgh and Sheffield to bring its operating space to 70,000sq ft.

It also took on sales and marketing director John Toal and operations manager Paul Crinnion to support its growth plans.

Mr Stephenson added: “Technology is a real growth sector in the UK, and looks likely to escalate in the coming years.

“We are in a fantastic position to take advantage of this and I'm looking forward to driving the company forward for the next 20 years.”