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September 29, 2004
For immediate release

Minister Currie Expresses Disappointment Over the Departure of Helipro

Development and Technology

Development and Technology Minister Mike Currie today expressed his disappointment at the departure of Helipro, a division of Vector Aerospace, which was located at Slemon Park. The company has informed the provincial government of its intention to close its operation in mid-October. The company employed 8 people when it closed. Three of the employees will be offered other jobs with the parent company. There is a demand for trained workers in the industry and the remainder will be eligible for jobs at other firms in the aerospace park.

“Bringing air-frame manufacturing had been part of our overall strategy for Slemon Park. Helipro was a reputable company with ties to the Cormorant Helicopter bid as well as many other capabilities. Their presence had the potential to contribute to the ability of other companies at Slemon Park to attract business. For that reason, government made an investment in the training of individuals,” said Minister Currie.

In 2000, the company announced that it would make PEI the base of its operations on the eastern seaboard and planned to hire 100 people over a period of time. The employees who were initially hired by the company were trained in British Columbia as there was no training available locally at the time. The company planned to develop a local training program as further employees were required.

Helipro’s parent company was recently taken over. The new directors opted not to continue the company’s operation at Slemon Park. The company had also experienced a number of problems following the downturn in the aerospace industry after 9/11. It has closed a number of other locations in the United States.

“PEI’s aerospace industry escaped relatively well from the downturn in the industry as a whole,” said Minister Currie. “Nearly 700 Islanders work in aerospace, and the industry accounts for $180 million in exports a year. Many of the other companies at Slemon Park are actually growing and the industry is large enough to support an institute for training new employees.”

Media Contact: Ann Thurlow
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