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Aviation News Airbus Helicopters surfs on major MCO contracts

Airbus Helicopters surfs on major MCO contracts

Léo Barnier
26 MAR 2020 | 551 words
Airbus Helicopters surfs on major MCO contracts
Airbus Helicopters has signed a ten-year contract for the MCO of the German NH90s..© Airbus Helicopters / C. Keller
For 2019, Airbus Helicopters can say thank you to the armed forces. The European helicopter manufacturer won some fine orders over the year - like the 23 NH90s for Spain or the 25 H225Ms placed in Hungary, Indonesia and France - but it also shone through several major overall support contracts. This guarantees a certain amount of growth for Airbus Helicopters, at a time when the civilian market is still uncertain.

The military sector accounted for 55% of Airbus Helicopters turnover in 2019, some 3.3 billion Euro. According to Christoph Zammert, Executive Vice President in charge of support and customer services, this is the activity which is growing most at the moment. The number of flying hours increased by over 10% between 2018 and 2019, compared with 2 to 3% for the civilian sector. This growth is of course passed onto support. Maintenance in operational condition (MCO), which accounts for just under half of Airbus Helicopters after sales activity, generated nearly 1.3 billion Euro in 2019.

Overall support deployed

MCO's importance should grow over the coming years, given the increase in the number of flying hours, along with the signature of several major contracts in 2019. These were signed according to the HCare Smart and Infinite overall support models, with guaranteed flying hour (FBH) prices, or a commitment to availability rates.

Christoph Zammert feels that this type of contract is becoming a major trend, just as in the civilian world.. Half of HCare Smart and Infinite contracts are for military aircraft, so 1 237 helicopters. This movement should continue over the coming years, with several current military campaigns having a major MCO component, along with specific contracts. "For 2020 we are expecting the same dynamic as in 2019", concludes the support and services boss.

A series of major contracts in 2019

Among these major agreements, first and foremost Christoph Zammert mentions the first verticalised contract signed in November 2019 with the Direction de la maintenance aéronautique (DMAé - Aeronautical maintenance department) for MOC for French Cougars and Caracals. Appointed the prime contractor alongside its partner Heli-Union, the company has committed to meeting defined performance levels in terms of availability, maintenance cycles, logistics and technical assistance for the next ten years. It is now up to them to implement the necessary resources - either on their own or with sub-contractors - to meet their objectives.

For now, the helicopter manufacturer is deploying its own system. It is placing staff in operational units, increasing part stock levels and refining its partnership with Heli-Union. While it is still too soon to put any figures on its results, Christoph Zammert thinks that initial feedback has been very positive, with an increase in availability already.

The constructor has signed a ten-year contract with the Organisation conjointe de coopération en matière d'armement (OCCAR - Joint organisation for arms cooperation) to provide overall support for the Tigres operated by the French, German and Spanish armed forces, with commitments to spare part availability rates for France. At the same time, the contract for Australian Tigres has been extended by five years. New fewer than 260 members of Airbus Helicopters personnel have been assigned to ensuring the success of this contract, specifies Christoph Zammert. Finally, the support boss also mentions the contract for the German NH90s, which provides maintenance for 100 helicopters over ten years.
Léo Barnier
Specialized journalist
Industry & Technology, Equipments, MRO


 
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