Quest Aviation Solutions announced its appointment as the exclusive MD Helicopters distributor for the United Arab Emirates on the second day of the Dubai Airshow. “We actually signed the document three weeks ago but we have been working on it for a long time,” said Mike Creed, Quest’s group aircraft sales and commercial director.
“The market that we are aiming at is the seven Emirates of the UAE. That means the police, the EMS, utility, offshore and any other paramilitary operations, as well as VIP,” he continued. “Following this airshow will conduct three days of demonstrations to all the major police and EMS operators within the region.”
Perry Orr of MD Helicopters and Mike Creed from Quest Aviation. Photos by Andrew Drwiega
He said that MD Helicopters had already sold aircraft from its range into Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Afghanistan although the UAE was now considered to be a potentially good market. Creed added that customers would be likely to lease the aircraft.
“Five years ago I put two MD902s into the LifeFlight operation in Qatar and they are still operating on a daylight-only operation,” said Creed. It is the only aircraft that manages the 50°C heat. Many manufacturers bring their aircraft in February and March to do their demonstrations, while we brought ours in during July and August – the hottest months (Creed was formerly a distributor for AgustaWestland). He noted that a helicopter with skids was better than one with wheels when landing in soft sand [some medical emergencies would require landing at remote and unprepared sites in the desert].
Perry Orr, director Middle East and Africa, said the agreement with Quest was fantastic for the company. “MD is expanding. We are opening offices in China right now, we shall shortly have an office here in the Middle East, probably Dubai."
“We are looking carefully at how we support our clients,” added Creed. “There are a number of ways to do that, either by ourselves or through a strategic partnership with some MROs who we are actively talking to now. But we will have fully supported products in country.” He continued to say that he preferred a central support location, but if a police force was to become a customer then they could be supported independently.
Orr said that the MD range was also suitable for luxury yachts, but that the company was small and addressing its key markets first. Helicopter production, he said, was between 40-50 helicopters a year of all types.
Armed versions of the MD530 and its upgrade, the MD540F (revealed in April 2012), were described by Orr as fantastic platforms when armed. “We have delivered armed aircraft to Jordan and we are redesigning and have come up with a second generation of the armed MD530 – the MD540F.” He said requests for proposals (RFPs) were with industry to decide what systems would be used on the new aircraft [the Rolls-Royce M250-C47E engine has already been selected and the weapons trial were conducted earlier in the year]. “We will have the aircraft ready for sale and delivery by Q3 2014,” he said.
In addition to UAE representatives who would be briefed on the aircraft, Orr said that they were expecting delegations from Egypt, Jordan, Libya and some South African.
Creed said his organization also had offices in India and Beijing, China, and were talking to MD about non-exclusive distribution in those territories. “We are the best exponents of this product because I like it,” he concluded.
Related: Police Helicopter News