Airbus Helicopters expanding African support network


Airbus Helicopters is entering into partnerships with African companies in an effort to geographically cover the whole of Africa and provide maintenance and spares to all its customers on the continent.

Gerard Franchini, Airbus Helicopters Sales Director for Africa, said earlier this month that local partners can provide certain services faster than Airbus Helicopters could from its sites in Europe. The latest partnership is NHV in Ghana, which received a service centre certificate which enables the company to offer a complete range of technical services and operational support to other Airbus Helicopters operators in the region.

The Belgian operator specializes in aviation services and has a branch in Ghana, where it operates AS365 N3 Dauphin helicopters to transport crew and freight to oil platforms. “Due to their knowledge of our helicopters in the oil and gas industry, NHV is the perfect choice to give the best services to other African customers in the region,” said Franchini.

There are also maintenance centres in the Ivory Coast (IAS) operating Alouettes, AS350 Ecureuil, AS365 Dauphin helicopters and Tunisia (Tunisavia) operating AS365 N2 and N3 Dauphin helicopters, which also provide services for Airbus Helicopters customers in neighbouring countries.

Further south, the continent is covered by Airbus Helicopters Southern Africa (AHZA), which supports over 250 helicopters in service with more than 60 operators. “The territory we cover comprises 20 countries,” explained AHZA CEO, Arnaud Montalvo. He explained that several measures have been taken in order to improve turnaround time and availability of parts and components in the huge region, in which some customers are located in remote areas. These actions comprise, for example, the implementation of an electronic log book, which makes the exchange of real time fleet status information quicker and more accurate, thereby improving forecasts for spare parts and maintenance.

A forecast system has also been implemented, to anticipate the need for parts up to 18 months in advance. In terms of training, AHZA partners with local organizations to train air crew, engineers and technicians. Furthermore, the company also operates Africa’s only full-motion Super Puma flight simulator, located near Johannesburg. AHZA is also deploying an H125 FNPTII flight simulator at its Grand Central facility, with a clear objective of enhancing safety and mission training in the region while maintaining affordable training costs, Airbus Helicopters said.