24 February 2010
Flight centre "fails to create jobs"

Cambrian News


A MAJOR testing facility for unmanned drones in Aberporth has been described by protest groups as a “white elephant”, after failing to attract the expected hundreds of jobs for west Wales almost a decade after opening.

ParcAberporth was set up as a flight test centre for military flying by the Welsh Assembly Government around six years ago, with claims hundreds of jobs from highly skilled to warehouse work would be brought to the area by 2008.

But there are currently no more than 100 people employed on-site, and with its main tenant, Selex Galileo - which employs around 4,000 people worldwide - now rumoured to be moving its operations to another location, the whole site has been described as falling far short of expectations.

The Assembly is now looking to submit a request to the civil aviation authority to turn the centre into an unmanned vehicle (UAV) testing site.

If the request is approved, a 499 nautical-square-mile zone in the skies over the site could see testing of civil and military drones.

However, the whole development has since come under fire from protest groups with claims the current site covers only a portion of the original plans submitted in the Assembly’s funding application in 2003, and has failed to create the expected 230 new high tech jobs by 2008.

See full story in this week's South edition of the Cambrian News.

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