Eurocopter upgrades Cape facility

19 September 2008

European helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter has completed a R2-million upgrade of its service and maintenance facility at Cape Town International Airport, enabling it to better support a rapidly expanding southern African customer base and fleet.

The newly refurbished facility was opened on Thursday to coincide with the 2008 Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition, where Eurocopter has a strong presence.

“This significant business increase is attributable, in a booming market, to the adequacy of our products to the customer needs and also to the recognition by the market of the quality of our support towards our customers,” Eurocopter Southern Africa CEO Fabrice Cagnat said in a statement this week.

“It could even increase in the future, as we have not felt yet the effect of the 2010 soccer World Cup.”

Dominant market player

Eurocopter currently supports a fleet of about 230 helicopters operating throughout southern Africa, with most of the aircraft being in service with police services and emergency medical rescue organisations.

They are also used for VIP and corporate operations, the tourism and charter market, and for utility missions such as geo-seismic missions, game counting and power line inspections.

Eurocopter Southern Africa expects orders of R650-million and a turnover of R508-million for 2008, a three-fold increase over the local subsidiary’s performance in 2005 – helping to keep the company’s market share in the region to over 70%.

“To meet this growth, we have increased headcount by 30%, and today Eurocopter employs about 100 personnel, including 25 qualified engineers at our Lanseria headquarters and at our newly refurbished service centre at Cape Town International Airport,” Cagnat said.

Training academy at Lanseria

The company has also established the Eurocopter Southern Africa’s training academy at Lanseria outside Johannesburg. This new academy provides type rating and technical training for the whole Eurocopter product range to helicopter pilots and engineers for customers from across the region.

Eurocopter has also increased the number of field representatives it has in the region to increase its presence, and the upgraded facility will provide technical and servicing capabilities to support operators from South Africa and the rest of the continent.

“Our investments demonstrate Eurocopter Southern Africa’s dedication and commitment to provide first class customer service in southern Africa, and emphasises our long-term commitment to the region,” Cagnat said.

SAinfo reporter

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