Air Covers - John Pattinson

Wrexham-based Air Covers specialises in designing and manufacturing protective covers for both civil and military aircraft, boats and vehicles. 

Founded in 2006 by husband and wife duo, John and Sasha Pattinson, Air Covers supplies private and public sector organisations including commercial airlines, luxury yacht manufacturers, special forces and defence agencies. The covers help to protect aircraft, land vehicles and marine craft against damage from corrosion, sand abrasion, humidity, salt, heat and ice, minimising the need for maintenance and subsequently increasing their availability.

Today, Air Covers exports to over 50 countries across Europe, America, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Key clients include Airbus, Leonardo, General Dynamics, Babcock, and the UK Ministry of Defence, as well as military operators and medical services all over the world. Exports currently account for 70% of the company’s trade, with Air Covers seeing growth in both international and domestic markets year on year.

With a primary focus on European markets, the manufacturer recently signed deals with Leonardo in Italy to supply protection for helicopter platforms, as well as a contract with German Air Force Eurofighter which will provide 75 aircraft with protective covers.

Air Covers’ export success has been helped by support it has received from the Welsh Government since the business was first established. This support has enabled the company to attend numerous international trade missions and shows which have in turn led to prospective customers and new business.

John Pattinson, founder and managing director at Air Covers said:

“Working with the Welsh Government has helped us to double our exports over the past five years, despite facing challenges like the pandemic. With their support, we have attended a whole range of trade missions and international exhibitions which have been key to our export growth. 

“Exhibiting at trade shows has been a key part of our export strategy and are the main way we secure business. We work to attend at least four or five each year as they are crucial to meeting prospective clients and building on existing relationships. They also enable us to see the latest industry trends and understand first-hand from engineers and pilots what problems they are facing so that we can continually improve and adapt our products.

Looking ahead, Air Covers hopes to target more business in Europe, the Middle East, and North America, by taking part in trade missions in these regions over the next 12 months. Welsh Government export specialists have played a crucial role in introducing Air Covers to contacts within these regions, including representatives at the respective consulates.  

The company now plans to make use of the Welsh Government’s Overseas Business Development Visit fund, which it has previously experienced success within other areas, to enable it to conduct market visits on a subsidised basis. 

John added: “I would recommend any exporter who is wanting to grow their export activity to get in touch with the Welsh Government as they can offer you a lot of support, whether that’s research and advice to establish the regions that would work best for your company, backing putting you in touch with contacts in target markets, or simply offering encouragement.”

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