TAKING ON THE WORLD IN FAST JET ENGINE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
Over the past 18 years TAE Aerospace, an Ipswich-based Defence company, has grown steadily to becoming Australia’s leading turbine engine maintenance, repair and operating business.
TAE took out the President’s Award at the recent Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry Awards, and Managing Director Andrew Sanderson says the importance of long term vision, expertise and reputation continue to be factors that have contributed to their success today. It was TAE Aersopace’s long term vision, plus identifying gaps in the Defence aerospace market, that led to TAE’s overall success today.
At RAAF Amberley, they turned an initial three-year contract carrying out servicing and repair on F-111 engines to establishing the company as an Australian Defence Industry contractor. TAE took over the Defence-owned engine repair centre on-base, and this landed them the title of Australia’s number one engine repair facility.
Identifying opportunities within the Australian Defence Force and the aerospace industry has enabled TAE to progress from F-111 engine work to become the preferred contractor for the F/A-18 Super Hornets and servicing the wheels and brakes for all Qantas aircraft.
“By having the infrastructure and capability we were able to convince people along the journey that we were a trusted provider to Defence so that if they wanted something done they knew we could get it done, and done well by our business,” Mr Sanderson said.
While long term goals and vision have been integral to TAE’s success to this day, Mr Sanderson said the strength and reputation of TAE is built upon the performance and execution of their team.
“As we grew the business, we brought on very, very experienced people who always delivered a fantastic job,” he said.
“Whenever our team got an engine into the facility, it was looked after very, very well and returned to the customer in great shape, so whether we were overhauling a part or repairing something, the product that went back out of the business was always a very good product.
“Right now we’re the best in the world in delivering engines for the Hornet fleet, so engines stay on operations twice as long as those maintained by any other company or military in the world.”
TAE’s latest and potentially greatest success comes from an agreement entered with the Joint Strike Fighter Division within the Department of Defence to develop a facility to meet stringent Facility Capability requirements for the fifth-generation F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.
The Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) will be housed in the old Masters’ building in Bundamba, which will cater for significant new maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade work on the F135 engine of all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft operating in the Asia-Pacific region.
Despite being foremost in the Ipswich business community since 2000, Mr Sanderson said TAE Aerospace remained largely unknown by the public.
It’s why they developed a focus on engaging closer with the Ipswich business community, and strategically why they chose to establish their TEMF in Bundamba.
“Engaging with Ipswich is a positive strategy and part of our reputation building process,” he said. “It’s important for influencing our supply chain in the region too, whether it’s someone that makes a component for us or repairs something.
“We’ve graduated from being a small company into being a medium sized enterprise so we have a strategy that we don’t have to do everything, we actually want to use the supply chain in and around the region to help us become a better enterprise.”
Ipswich Chamber of Commerce President Phillip Bell said TAE Aerospace was chosen for his President’s Award for 2018 not only their skill and expertise, but also for inspiring other businesses on a local, national and international scale.
“TAE’s history and experience gives them a unique perspective on the aviation industry, enabling them to understand the challenges the industry faces and to find ways to address them,” Mr Bell said. “Rather than just ‘do the job’ they strive to use their mix of skills, knowledge and experience to bring about continual improvement for their clients.
“TAE have become a critical and valuable part of the local business and cultural fabric of the community.