6 months ago

Magazine Helicopter Industry #102

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HELICOPTER INDUSTRY I INTERVIEW I HI: What is the profile of the suppliers of the equipment you approve, in particular for separating cabin and cockpit? CZ: These are companies we know. Usually, a supplier who has developed something, who has his own Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), wants us to validate this solution, to label it. We are in contact with a number of suppliers who hold a STC. On our Airbus World portal, we give access to a very large number of STCs, those that we have labelled. Sometimes large customers have developed their own solutions and submit them to us for approval. But the vast majority were like us – they took the time to reconfigure themselves. Where difficulties have arisen, and we need to be agile and innovative, is in the area of logistics solutions. Because with all the commercial flights that have all but disappeared, we have lost a lot of capacity to transport parts. But we always find solutions, even if this remedy has become very expensive. It is also a way of supporting our customers: we do not pass on these increased transport costs in our invoices. HI: 8% down, that seems very little. How can I explain it? HI : From an aerospace manufacturing industrial point of view, has this health crisis event changed the situation? CZ: Everything works! All our production sites, assembly lines, spare parts, are running, but at a slightly slower pace. Why? A number of staff have to keep their children as long as the schools are or were closed. On the other hand, we have people who are more or less in poor health, so they can’t take the risk of coming to work. Let us add that last March, for four days, we significantly reduced our industrial activities, the time it took to reconfigure the workstations, in other words, to put in place a system of team relief and cleaning procedures to limit or avoid the risk of infection as much as possible. We are quite proud of the fact that we have not had any cases of infection in the workplace. Our entire customer support business continues to operate. This is also important for us; and reassuring: activity in terms of spare parts orders and deliveries has not declined. Because in terms of global flying hours, we are seeing a slight decrease (by about 8%), because there are people who are flying less, or who cannot fly at the moment. But we are lucky: for the moment, we are very little affected. Suppliers have experienced some problems because they also have concerns about the presence of staff, or supply problems. That’s why we monitor our supplier network very closely to pick up any weak signals that could indicate a problem. CZ: Already the Airbus Helicopters fleet is very diversified. The parapublic, military, EMS sectors continue to fly – sometimes even more than before. The Oil & Gas sector is very much affected by the consequences of the fall in the price per barrel. However, because it also has exceptional passenger separation provisions, operators have to operate more machines with fewer people on board. We will see how the flight hours will evolve over time. HI: Does that mean that the share of tourist flights is quite low in any case ? CZ: Yes and no. For example, when we look at Hawaii, the Grand Canyon in the United States and these kinds of air operations in the northern hemisphere, they tend to be more active in the summer. So the season is still to come. In Europe, we were rather at the end of the heli-skiing season. The consequences of the health crisis have therefore been, and are still being, weighed. MORE ABOUT AIRBUS HELICOPTERS HI I 40