Kelly Steel Engineering has won a €16m contract to build a 3,500 tonne baggage handling facility at Abu Dhabi’s new airport.
Work starts next January and the company is recruiting up to 70 engineers, many of whom are Irish, to work on the project.
Kelly Steel Engineering is already recognised as one of the Middle East’s top architectural steel fabricators, and has the largest Irish-born private sector workforce in all of the United Arab Emirates.
Joint owners John O’Kelly from Co Carlow and his Malahide-born wife, Liamhan, have been in business for over ten years and say the airport project will allow them to boost their 230-strong workforce, 18 of whom are Irish.
To accommodate this and other projects, they’ve doubled the size of their production facility to include a 1.6 acre workshop.
The firm, which specialises in steel fabrication, has worked on projects such as White Water West, a water park development in which the company fabricated an anaconda, aqualoop, boomerang, water slides and the longest zip lines in the Middle East for the Atlantis Hotel on Palm Island.
“We have been very fortunate and the prospects for us as a firm have not been this good since the peak boom times of 2007-2009,” said John O’Kelly.
“It was rough here for a while after but the economy has really picked up here [in the Middle East] in the past 18 months. We’re back at full strength and have enough work on at present to keep us going past April of 2016.
“We’ve done a good deal of work with relocated firms such as John Sisk and we have imported steel directly to Abu Dhabi Financial centre from a production facility in Kilkenny from Michael Whelan of SRS. We plan to partner more and link up more with Irish-based firms thinking of using a Middle East based company for either representations or for joint venture.” Source: The Journal