Aircraft inventor eyes up Shannon for manufacturing base

Malcolm Ducker with the Speedtwin Comet1 light aircraft which he tested in the skies over Shannon Airport with a view to setting up a manufacturing base near the airport
A COMPANY which is developing light aircraft for the security and corporate sectors is considering whether it should locate in Shannon.

A COMPANY which is developing light aircraft for the security and corporate sectors is considering whether it should locate in Shannon.

Should the backers of Speedtwin Comet1 - which was tested in the skies over the airport last week - decide to do so, it would represent the first aircraft manufacturing operation in the Republic.

And as the newly independent Shannon Airport Authority develops its international aviation services centre, Speedtwin is just the sort of venture it is hoping to attract.

After thrilling hundreds of onlookers with a display of aerial acrobatics, the aircraft’s creator Malcolm Ducker spoke enthusiastically about Shannon’s track record of innovation.

“We have been talking to the people at Shannon about this project for some time and we get a real sense that it still has that ‘can do’, innovative approach to aviation,” Mr Ducker said.

“Your government has also come in with some incentives to support the sector, which is also an encouraging message, and on top of that you have a very attractive tax regime. All that together is certainly very attractive to us.

“At the moment we are moving to the next level with the Speedtwin and the development and production of the aircraft will require new skills and investment. We are confident we will get that and are excited about the worldwide potential market there is for the Speedtwin. We see Shannon as an ideal manufacturing base for the aircraft.”

The twin-engine aircraft could be used in surveillance and mapping and customers could include border patrol and other security services or Ordnance Survey. Corporations which operate over large territories - in agriculture, mining or oil - are also potential clients.

SAA chairman Rose Hynes congratulated Mr Ducker on bringing the project to this stage: “It would be a great step for Shannon if Speedtwin Developments were located here. It would be the first time that aircraft manufacturing would have taken place in the country”