Advanced composites firm, Quickstep, has shrugged off weak manufacturing output, as it officially opened its new state of the art advanced composites manufacturing facility at Sydney’s Bankstown Airport.
Although Australian manufacturing contracted for the fourth month in row, Quickstep has nothing but good news to report. The company celebrated the recent opening of its new site, announcing it had secured a second long -term agreement with US aerospace giant Northrop Grumman to supply F-35 Joint Strike Fighter components.
Quickstep managing director Philippe Odouard said the company was close to being cashflow- positive and had “all the contracts necessary to get there”.
“The contracts we have won will represent more than 200 jobs on their own and we have a number of other prospects likely to increase that number,” he said.
“It is not a one-off project, it is a brand new industry that will have major applications in aerospace but also in automotive, an industry in transformation and in need of new technology that Quickstep can provide . . . in Australia and worldwide.”
The company also announced earlier this year a five-year contract with Lockheed Martin to produce carbon fibre wing flaps for its C130J Hercules military transport aircraft – worth between $75 million and $100 million.
With more than 3000 F-35s expected to be produced by 2036, Quickstep is the biggest aircraft production outside the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Barry O’Farrell said Quickstep’s relocation from Perth to Bankstown was a vote of confidence in the workforce and facilities to be found in Western Sydney.
“This is a vote of confidence in the Western Sydney economy at a time when governments and communities are concerned about their jobs,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Today Quickstep officially starts operations in its $15 million advanced aerospace composite parts manufacturing facility in Bankstown and it’s a great step forward for the company.
“Sydney offers Quickstep the scale, resources, facilities and skilled workforce needed to help them realise its growth strategy, and the move is already paying dividends.”
The news comes as a breathe of fresh air to the manufacturing sector, after The Australian reported industry Group PriceWaterhouseCoopers revealed Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) remained below the key level of 50 points last month, indicating the sector continued to contract.