Back in 2007, aviation engineer Mat Bailey’s business was Australia based. An expert in his field, he travelled from his Central Queensland home to take on a one-off aircraft modification job at Feilding Aerodrome.
While he was there several other aircraft operators asked if he could service their aeroplanes too. Mat serviced a niche market – aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul and there seemed to be plenty of demand for his services. The requests and flights across the ditch grew more frequent and the more time Mat spent here, the more he fell in love with New Zealand – along with a local lady, Trina.
And so, Avcraft Engineering New Zealand was born. Mat made Manawatu home and he and Trina went into business together. They started out in 2009 servicing one plane, initially employing one other engineer and Trina worked part time as their administrator.
AllanMcNeill has been with Avcraft from the beginning. Hayden Trotter, who was recommended to Mat and Trina, has played a guiding role in shaping Avcraft’s growing business. On hand for the original set up, Hayden has been a key strategist in their growth since.
Today Avcraft employs 10 engineers and 2 support staff. In 2013, they outgrew the small hangar they were leasing and built the 1000sqm hangar they occupy today. Private plane owners and commercial fleet businesses from all over New Zealand bring their aircraft to them to be serviced. They have over 40 different clients and service 110 aircrafts.
The couple has very clear individual roles in the business – Mat is the Engineering Manager while Trina is CEO and Safety Manager, which includes official Civil Aviation Authority approval to run their organisation.
“We’re very much partners in crime – at work and at home,” says Trina. Mat and Trina are also parents to Zac and Emelia. “Mat makes the engineering decisions and I find a way to make things happen. It’s a similar story when we’re in the air - Mat is the pilot and I am more than happy to sit in the passenger seat!”
With planned quarterly catch ups plus conversations as and when required, Hayden continues to assist Avcraft get where they want to be.
“There is still plenty of opportunity to diversify”, says Mat. "We have scope to take on more customers and we’d like to partner with more international suppliers.”
One thing is for sure, AllanMcNeill will be along for the ride.