Ryanair has awarded a "multi-million pound" contract to a Tyrone engineering firm to deliver a 32 strong fleet of airport buses.
The Dungannon headquartered company say it plans to create 60 new jobs as a result of the contract and is immediately going to start recruiting skilled mechanics, coach-builders, fitters, welders, joiners, spray painters and vehicle upholsters.
The new positions are likely to attract the attention of many of the 1,200 ex Wrightbus workers who lost their jobs when the Ballymena company went into administration last month.
Mallaghan Engineering is a long established manufacturer of airport ground support equipment but manufacturing buses is a relatively new departure for the Dungannon headquartered company.
Last year the company invested heavily in research and development to design a new airport apron bus and the result is the Mallaghan 50W”, which it claims is currently the largest capacity airport bus, capable of carrying up to 125 passengers.
Ronan Mallaghan, managing director of the family owned business, said on Tuesday: “Traditionally our product portfolio has focused on passenger stairs and a range of high lift trucks for catering, cabin cleaning and more specialist ground support equipment including water trucks, toilet trucks and de-icers.”
“But with increasing passenger numbers in the global market and to meet customer demands, we’ve developed and begun manufacturing the Mallaghan 50W airport bus which broadens our range and heralds a new dawn for the Mallaghan team.”
Mallaghan Engineering currently employs more than 450 staff across its key manufacturing sites in Dungannon and Georgia, Atlanta in the USA and five other global offices.
Ryanair has been one of the company’s longest-standing customers and has used Mallaghan ground support equipment at many of its European bases for the last 20 years.
Adrian Dunne, Ryanair director of operations, said the airline was delighted to be the launch customer for the new Mallaghan bus.
Mr Dunne said the airline had worked closely with Mallaghan in relation to the design, specification and delivery of its specific airport apron bus.
“As we expand the Ryanair Group operations, we expect this to be the first of many orders and look forward to working with Mallaghan - one of our key suppliers of ground equipment,” Mr Dunne added.