AN aerospace firm is cutting a third of its workforce at a loss-making North-East airport, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Cobham, which operates from Durham Tees Valley Airport (DTVA), says up to 30 workers will be made redundant as its moves flight inspection services to Bournemouth Airport.

Bosses, who employ 86 North-East staff, are creating about 20 new roles at the south coast base.

Loading article content

However, the company says the transfer is not part of wider plans to leave the North-East, adding it will continue to provide training in the region for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The move comes just days after Cobham revealed strong annual group results, with underlying revenues rising to £1.79bn and orders increasing from £1.65bn to £1.67bn for the year to December 31.

Its firm's flight inspection division includes engineering flight checks and inspections for instrument landing systems, airfield ground lighting and distance measuring equipment.

A spokesman said: “We are continuing to consult employees and their representatives.

“However, we expect between 20 and 30 of the 86 positions at DTVA will be made redundant and up to 20 new positions will be created at Bournemouth Airport.

“We are working closely with those affected to assist with finding alternative employment.

“We will continue to use DTVA for the foreseeable future as our Northern base to provide the MoD with operational readiness training.

“That mission involves five aircraft flying about 3,000 hours annually.”

The airport's MoD work includes operational readiness, which builds on a 25-year partnership with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to train service personnel on Eurofighter Typhoon jets and Type-45 Destroyer battleships.

Cobham uses Dassault Falcon 20 aircraft that operate equipment emulating jammed radar and communication systems and work as targets for gun and missile firing.

The firm's DTVA team also conduct calibration of air traffic and navigation systems for civilian airports and military airbases from London Heathrow to the Falkland Islands.

Its presence at DTVA is a boost to airport bosses, who are continuing to work on offsetting passenger operation losses with plans to turn part of the site into a 400-home estate and an industrial hub, strengthened by existing flights to Amsterdam and Aberdeen.

Chiefs say selling land for housing will generate millions of pounds and help fund new hangars, office space and industrial units, with rent occupants making the airport viable and protecting flights.