Rotor & Wing: What was business like in 2012? How does it look for 2013?
Andries: We have enjoyed good growth in 2012 vs. 2011, which is a continuation of the trend that we’ve followed since 2010. 2010 was a trough for us, in the aftermath of the economic crisis we were down to 800 new engines delivered. It was 942 in 2011, and precisely 1,012 new engines delivered during 2012—so growth of around six percent in numbers. At the same time, our support business has grown too, as a consequence an expanding fleet in operation of engines, but also we’ve seen a slight increase of flying hours per engine.
So we have benefitted from both. And as a consequence of all that, basically our turnover has increased by 10 percent versus last year. We see this trend going on in 2013, so it’s essentially moderate growth, but solid.
Rotor & Wing: What about two or three years down the road?
Andries: In 2008, we were at 1,300, that was our high number. We are confident that we’ll reach or be close to 1,100 by the end of 2013. So getting back to 1,300, I would say toward 2015.
Rotor & Wing: What segments of the commercial market are poised for growth?
Andries: The most solid growth is coming from oil and gas. This is an interesting segment, because the growth is resilient to the financial situation or the global economic situation. We see a trend for deeper offshore and new areas of exploration and operation. So this is clarly an area of growth, and an area of growth for us too as we are in this segment.
The other segments, it’s small/sparse, but we see also a significant growth in some specific geographical areas, and I would list two as fast-risers—South America and southeast Asia. This is driven by military needs in the helicopter market as well as commercial needs. Oil and gas, certainly, but also police, parapublic, charter, tourism, you know, as those countries reach a certain level of GDP, we see a significant boost in the helicopter market outside of the military.
Rotor & Wing: What are Turbomeca’s plans for Heli-Expo?
Andries: There are a lot of things going on, but unfortunately I can’t comment on all of them until the show. But one thing I wanted to share is that we have launched a new way of working within Turbomeca in relation to the TM800. As an example this is the very first engine, you might be surprised but it’s the very first where we’ve decided to have a cost objective design. Meaning that we decided to involve our manufacturing guys, and also our support guys, right from the beginning, right from the conception—including some of our key suppliers—in order to capitalize on all the knowledge that we have acquired on the support side, as well as the manufacturing side, to inject this knowledge into new developments and to make sure that we are going to be able to develop an engine that is going to be as cheap, or cheaper to produce and also cheaper to operate.
That’s a key point, because the operator is waiting at the end of the day to keep the aircraft flying, so they want high performance, high reliability and low operating costs. So we need to be able to respond to those three key requirements from our end customer.
Rotor & Wing: How is the BOOST program progressing that Turbomeca announced at last year’s show?
Andries: BOOST is our online service platform, where we’re aiming to provide online services for operators, including direct access to Turbomeca technical information, configuration management for the engines, planning of maintenance activities, and so on and so forth—all while managing parts as well. So we are developing this platform with IBM. We are on schedule for the development, and we aim to launch the commercial service at the beginning of 2014. We recognize this is addressing a strong need expressed by our customers. They want to always save money, get rid of paper and waste, and so this is the way to go—a web-based online service platform.
See more of the interview with Turbomeca CEO Olivier Andries, including the company’s role in emerging markets, in Rotor & Wing’s Show Day publication at the event.
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