Rawdon firm rises Phoenix-like from blaze to gain global orders

Ilkley Gazette: In September 2013 a huge blaze took hold at the Airedale Air Conditioning factory in Rawdon. Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around. Nearby homes and businesses were evacuated as 100 firefighters tackled the blaze. In September 2013 a huge blaze took hold at the Airedale Air Conditioning factory in Rawdon. Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around. Nearby homes and businesses were evacuated as 100 firefighters tackled the blaze.

Rawdon-based Airedale International Air Conditioning is securing orders from around the globe, despite a blaze that devastated its factory.

The company is planning to completely rebuild its Leeds Road premises, badly hit by the fire last September.

But it vowed to bounce back stronger, and pressed ahead with plans to expand its foreign markets. And it says it is beginning to see dividends from its plans to increase turnover through export growth. Within the last six months, Airedale has set up branch offices in Moscow and Dubai and has attended key industry events around the world.

The company says it is now beginning to see results with orders recently secured from as far afield as China, Norway, Kazakhstan and East Africa.

Airedale’s commercial director, Mark Viner, said: “We quickly recognised that having a strong local presence was key to being taken seriously in our key growth markets.

“Taking this a step further, we’re also delighted to be able to announce the appointment of our first non-UK resident employee, Nissar Rahman, who will be supporting Airedale’s area manager, Andrew Walker, who moved to Dubai in 2013 to establish Airedale’s office in the Dubai Airport Freezone.

“The company has exported to the Middle East region for many years but never with the degree of focus that we now have because we recognise the potential is so vast.” Earlier this year Airedale submitted a planning application to Leeds City Council for a full rebuild and is waiting to hear if approval will be granted.

A report to the Leeds City Council’s west and south plans panel said: “This company is a major employer in the area employing a high number of local staff and the company has had to temporarily locate to another part of Leeds.

“The company wants to move back to this site as quickly as possible and there are significant economic benefits to the area.”

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