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New aircraft centre will secure thousands of Dara jobs.

THOUSANDS of jobs have been secured with the announcement that the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (Dara) is to build a pounds 77m aircraft centre at RAF St Athan.

Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said the repair and maintenance facility would be built at the existing base, which is home to Dara's headquarters.

The move secures 3,000 Dara jobs in Wales and a further 1,000 in Fleetlands in Hampshire, Almondbank in Perthshire and Sealand in Flintshire.

Project Red Dragon will see the creation of support workshops, offices and hangars with the capacity to house 48 jet aircraft.

It will also be the focus for wider plans by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) to create an aviation centre of excellence at St Athan.

Mr Ingram said: ``Dara plays a crucial role in delivering support to our Armed Forces. It is clear that if the agency is to bid successfully for future aircraft repair and maintenance work, then it must have facilities which will enable it to be competitive in the international marketplace. ``The new facility is designed to the highest standards to help Dara achieve quality and productivity. This substantial investment is a major vote of confidence in Dara and our defence capability in Wales.'' The development will replace the current facilities, which are spread over 1,000 acres, and will be situated on a 100-acre site. # Nearly 300 skilled jobs will be created near Caerphilly by Centerprise International, the Basingstoke-based PC m a nu fa c t u r e r.

The company will invest pounds 5m to buy the 17-acre Duffryn Meadows site. Centerprise will start recruiting the first of its planned 291-strong workforce in the summer.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 21, 2003
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