TNPA awards helicopter pilotage contract to Denel Aviation

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Transnet National Ports Authority’s 17 cadet helicopter pilots, who have achieved their commercial helicopter pilot’s licences, will gain practical experience.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) is pleased to announce that its helicopter service will, from 1 April, be undertaken by Denel Aviation, which was awarded the contract after a competitive tender process.

Denel is South Africa’s global leader in the supply of strategic defence, aerospace and security products and services. Even though Denel is extending its technology and services into the civil and commercial environment, Denel Aviation has been active in the civil aviation sector for some time now and well versed in civil operations and the civil regulatory environment.

During March, Denel was on site in Durban and Richards Bay checking and ensuring that everything would be ready regarding the operation from 1 April as expected.

The contract, as per the RFP, is for a two-year period, with an option to renew for a further three years.

In terms of the contract, Denel Aviation will provide a total package of aviation solutions to TNPA. This includes providing the authority’s 17 cadet helicopter pilots, which have completed their courses and achieved their commercial helicopter pilot’s licence, with practical experience.

Denel will also continue training TNPA’s six trainee helicopter engineers who have already completed the first year of their course at the Denel Technical Academy.

The contract is structured such that for the first year the service will be undertaken entirely by Denel pilots. Thereafter, the ratio will reduce by 20% per year for the next four years, after which TNPA will take over the service.

The awarding of the contract to Denel Aviation can be credited to the company’s extensive experience in aviation, which incorporates maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) upgrades, systems integration and flight testing.

Denel’s experience matches the terms of the TNPA contract, which is a civil aviation contract intended to transfer TNPA pilots to ships and has no commercial aspects to it.

For 17 years, the authority has outsourced its helicopter service, although it owned the helicopters and the related infrastructure. “When we reflected on this and our transformation mandate, some three years ago, we realised that we cannot have an operation that is not reflective of the South African demographics, hence the decision to train our own pilots and engineers that are reflective of the country’s demographics,” said TNPA’s chief executive Tau Morwe.

“Our vision is a long-term one to develop a pool of pilots that will be able to adequately take up position in the commercial aviation sector,” he said.

“As a company, we are committed to the transformation of the aviation industry through skills development and training. Part of this contract is to provide the mentorship and guidance to TNPA pilots to enable these people to carry out the necessary tasking when they have qualified,” said Mike Kgobe, chief executive of Denel Aviation.



The Denel Aviation relationship with Transnet National Ports Authority supports the vision of the Department of Public Enterprises for state-owned companies to share expertise, resulting in transformation and the consolidation of services.