Speaking on today’s Times Aerospace podcast, CEO of the Wilson Airport-headquartered airline, Adrian Wilcox (pictured right) said the company will be adding to its Kenya and Ghana AOCs with a new AOC in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The airline is also looking to increase its government sector work with a move into providing special missions aircraft.
“We're looking to be more focused on this sector moving forward. We see that we can differentiate ourselves with our capability to provide special mission solutions, primarily ISR, operating unique aircraft types with unique capabilities that enable us to work to support sticky contracts on a multiple year basis, and which have a better yield than other contracts where the yield has been eroded by virtue of the competition,” Wilcox said.
Aberdair will be looking at DA42 and DA62 special mission aircraft, he said.
The mainstay business in the resources sector – covering oil & gas and mining demands – and humanitarian will also see additions to the fleet.
Wilcox said the company would be acquiring Dash 8 aircraft to replace its Embraer 120s, which he added, had served Aberdair well. “We're looking to addDash8 which will probably be a -300 within the next three months, with either a -200 or a -100 ro follow shortly after," Wilcox said.
Over the past year Aberdair has been restructuring and following some strategic decisions it will be leading its fixed wing operations through a Ghanaian AOC and focus on rotary operations for its Kenyan AOC.
Wilcox said that rotary acquisitions could also follow.
“On the rotary fleet out of Kenya, we started with the H125/ AS350 B3 which is tried and tested across Africa and a fantastic performer in terms of multi mission single-engine helicopter operations - and then moving up to the BK117 during the course of 2021 which will give us multi- engine capability and IFR capability,” he said
Wilcox said he was excited by the AOC and prospects for the DRC business, with DRC not having restrictions on foreign ownership, Aberdair is the majority shareholder in the new operation with, what Wilcox describes as, “very valuable and productive local partners.”
Wilcox said: “We see DRC and our new office in Kinshasa as being a very prospective market. It's very large, which sounds silly, but it's a key attribute for a good aviation market, as opposed to a country such as Liberia where we were before. And it's just by virtue of the size of the country means that you can build up the hours that you need to make the operation viable." Additionally, there's poor infrastructure and there's a new President and a new regime in place. And we expect that with a new President there is going to come change there, which is going to attract more investment in infrastructure and some big hydroelectric power projects. FInally, we see that there's going to be more mining activity there, and the UN has a significant presence there as well.”
* Listen to the full podcast interview www.podomatic.com/podcasts/aerospacemeanda/episodes/2020-12-23T03_30_28-08_00
Aberdair's Emb 120 'Brasilia' aircraft will be making way for Dash 8s at the fixed wing base in Ghana. (Image - Aberdair)
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