A TOWNSVILLE aircraft business has proven itself able to land the job, with a hefty contract to repaint two dozen of air giant Virgin's fleet at Townsville Airport.
North Queensland specialist aircraft exterior refinishers Flying Colours Aviation won out in a competitive tender process against a line-up of cut-rate Asian companies to dress 24 Virgin 737s in white.
The win thrilled Townsville Airports Ltd.
They have had long-standing plans for a $50 million redevelopment to the aviation precinct.
The good news may also go some way to making up for Virgin's announcement in December last year it was pulling services between Townsville and Cairns and Townsville and Rockhampton.
Flying Colours Aviation yesterday unveiled the second finished airliner in the contract, which they had wrangled from international competitors with a suite of local benefits they said boded well for the northern region's future.
"We have a lot of competition overseas for what we are doing in New Zealand and Asia so we had to work really hard to get it," Flying Colours managing director Linda Armstrong said.
"Other companies are very competitive in terms of price but we focused on offering good quality and a quick turnaround time. Where we could compete was quality of work and turnaround time and also ease of business. It is easier for the operators to deal with us as well.
"Normally time for an aircraft this size is about 14 days and we can do it in 11.
"That's three extra days they can have the aircraft. There is no facility of this kind anywhere else in Australia.
"The second (appeal for Virgin Airlines) is the weather - it's a very good ambient temperature up here for painting.
"Lastly is the location. The airlines don't have to ferry the aircraft overseas.
"The makeover takeoff has given local aviation employment a small windfall, with Flying Colours Aviation going from six employees to 24 to meet the job's demands.
"It's quite a difficult process. The aircraft comes in, we mask it up, we put on a chemical paint strip, the surfaces get cleaned then erosion protection gets sprayed on the aircraft, then it's top-coated with all the logos followed by clear coating," she said.
The skills base built by the deal could pave the way for more work of its kind in the future the company and Townsville Airports Ltd both hope.
"We're delighted to have Flying Colours as another tenant," Townsville Airports chief operating officer Kevin Gill said.
Story taken from the Townsville Bulletin. Written by Harry Brumpton.