THE former financial controller of North East video games company Eutechnyx has taken her career sky-high after making a six-figure swoop for a helicopter business.
Claire Jobling, an accountant by trade who worked for the Co-operative before spending five years at globally-successful Eutechnyx, has acquired Newcastle Airport-based Northumbria Helicopters for an undisclosed sum.
She now aims to develop the business by tapping into the growing demand for helicopters on wedding days, as well as offering charter flights for celebrities, business people and event organisers.
Northumbria Helicopters started life in 1999 primarily as a Civil Aviation Authority-approved flight school.
For the past two years it has been owned by Carlisle businessman Ashley Graham.
When the company became available for purchase in September, Ms Jobling saw an opportunity to expand it into several markets and worked with commercial law firm Muckle LLP to finalise the acquisition.
She said: “I want to develop the business by focusing on charter flights and more commercial work, including weddings and events.
“The online voucher site market also has huge potential for growth, providing gift experiences readily available at the click of a button, making superb presents for friends and family.
"The business is well known to people interested in helicopters, flying and aviation, but we'd like to build on that reputation. It is in a fantastic location – our sites at Newcastle International Airport and Carlisle Airport allow us to easily cover Northern England and Southern Scotland. It's a very exciting acquisition.”
The assets acquired include two Robinson R22 Beta helicopters, which are largely used for flight training, and a Robinson R44 Raven I that is ideally suited to charter flights and gift experiences.
The firm also relies on a team of contracted pilots.
Current and past clients of the company include broadcaster ITV, English Heritage and Metro Radio, which provides the region with rush-hour traffic information from the vantage of one of Northumbria's helicopters every day.
Since Ms Jobling took over the firm, it has already flown Santa Claus to a North East garden centre and has a number of weddings booked in for the months ahead.
“Brides and best men are increasingly surprising the groom on their wedding day with a helicopter flight between the church and the reception and that is something we hope to take advantage of,” she said.