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, Rolls Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence, as well as military operators and medical services all over the world. Exports currently account for 65% of the company’s trade, but it aims to increase this figure to 75% by 2024.
Air Covers has recently completed a lucrative deal to become an exclusive supplier for Airbus’ newly launched H145D3 helicopter. The company expects to deliver 30 sets per annum from 2023, and thanks to the deal, is on target to achieve its goal of increasing exports by a quarter by the end of 2022 compared to last year.
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 over the last 16 years has helped us to double our export business. 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 North America and Australia and has taken part in virtual trade missions in these regions. It has also been introduced by Welsh Government export specialists to contacts within the countries 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 with in other areas, to enable it to conduct in person market visits on a subsidised basis.
John added: “I would recommend any exporter who is wanting to grow their exports to get in touch with the Welsh Government as they can offer you a lot of help, whether that’s research and advice to establish the regions that would work best for your company, support putting you in touch with contacts in target markets, or simply offering encouragement.”