On November 11, 2016, Airbus Helicopters celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in Santiago, Chile, and unveiled new investments in the South Cone region of South America, amounting to 4.6 million US dollars.
Customer satisfaction is at the core of these new investments. The company’s existing customer service center at Santiago's Tobalaba aerodrome will move to a new, larger site within the airport totaling 10,000 square meters of floor space. This expansion will double Airbus Helicopters’ customer service capacity, increasing pilot training activities and support for the regional fleet of more than 300 helicopters.
“Any expansion of the Airbus Helicopters service offer can only be positive for us, providing us with more alternative solutions to our requirements," says Admiral Juan Carlos Pons, Commander of the Chilean Navy Aviation, whose Airbus Helicopters’ fleet logs around 2,000 flight hours a year supporting naval and maritime operations, including natural disaster response.
Airbus Helicopters: A market leader in the South Cone region
Airbus Helicopters holds the leading market position in the South Cone region, comprised of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Panama, Peru and Uruguay, with a market share of more than 40 percent in the civil and parapublic sector.
“We are the only helicopter manufacturer with its own infrastructure in the country built to meet its customers' needs," explains Alexandre Ceccacci, Airbus Helicopters’ CEO in Chile. "This anniversary celebration and the investments that have just been announced are a wager on the future. We are also reaffirming our confidence in the regional market where we are going to continue to grow over the next decades.”
Indeed, despite a lack of dynamism in the global helicopter market, Airbus Helicopters has continued to see its market share increase and to believe in an upturn in the regional helicopter market thanks to a portfolio of profitable and highly innovative products. It is this portfolio that has allowed Airbus Helicopters to work long-term with customers like the Chilean navy.
Long-term partnerships with civil and military customers
After operating the Alouette III in the 1970s and the Cougar in the 1990s, the Chilean Navy Aviation began flying Dauphin helicopters in 2000, thus solidifying a bond that has endured for more than 40 years. According to Admiral Pons, this enduring relationship owes its success "to the openness and respect with which problems and possible solutions are addressed by the company."
On the civil side, Ecocopter has worked with Airbus Helicopters since its beginnings in 2003. This multi-mission helicopter operator headed by Marcelo Rajchman is involved in energy, telecommunications, HEMS, tourism, firefighting, and heliskiing, among other missions.
"Our wide range of activities means we must have reliable and versatile helicopters to adapt to the high expectations of our customers,” says Rajchman. “And this is particularly what the Ecureuil family allows us to do, both for maritime and high-altitude operations.”
Ecocopter today flies seven H125s, one H130, and two H135s. The number of missions flown varies from year to year, but Ecocopter recently reached 30,000 flight hours in Chile with its Airbus Helicopters fleet.
"Over the years, our relationship has grown stronger, not only on the technical and operational side, but also in a personal manner at all levels of our organizational structures," Rajchman says.
For customers like Ecocopter and the Chilean military, the new customer service facilities coming soon to the South Cone region should facilitate even closer interactions with Airbus Helicopters’ training and support teams, likely reinforcing these relationships and further cementing Airbus Helicopters’ commitment to the region.
Press release and picture by Airbus Helicopters