What are the specificities of the British helicopter market?
Markus Steinke: With 750 helicopters in service, the UK hosts the biggest civil and parapublic turbine fleet in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. As an island between Europe and North America, the influence of American manufacturers and the U.S. dollar is even stronger in the UK than on the European continent and in the Euro zone. Eurocopter’s market share in the UK amounts to 45%. In addition, the helicopter market in Ireland features 100 Eurocopter helicopters . As far as the military market is concerned, the UK has been actively involved with almost no interruption in crises all over the world since the end of World War II. Eurocopter products have successfully served Her Majesty’s forces for more than 30 years for activities such as transportation, training and liaison. However, we can not speak about UK helicopter operations without highlighting the extremely active energy market. On the one hand, there is extensive oil & gas exploration today, and on the other hand, there is the upcoming new business of wind farms, which is rapidly developing due to the advantageous geographica attributes of the British Isles. In addition, as London is one of the world’s financial capitals, many worldwide companies have an office in the UK. This combined with the fact that London is a magnet that attracts celebrities and successful individuals creates many interesting opportunities for the corporate and VIP market. Finally, we must remember that the UK is home of another European helicopter manufacturer, which increases the competition in this area of the world.
What are your priorities for Eurocopter Uk?
M.S.: Under the category “full focus on customer needs”, there are three main axes: 1. Offer state-of-the-art, local services to oil & gas operators. Become a strategic onshore partner for the UK Minister of Defence (MOD). Remain a market leader in the civil/parapublic market. Concerning the first point, Eurocopter (EC) UK’s commitment to the oil & gas market is best expressed at the new site in Aberdeen, which will be set up within close proximity to customer bases. This site will offer not only logistical/PBH(1) and technical services, but also simulator training on the EC225 full motion flight training device (FTD). The UK Armed Forces operates a variety of Eurocopter products, which constitute, for example, part of the backbone of UK military operations in the Middle East. EC UK will manage the evolution of this fleet by providing onshore capability and capacity in the UK and by being ready for any future needs expressed by the MOD. The most urgent issue at the moment is the upgrade of the MOD’s Puma fleet. Last but not least, our UK customer base frequently asks for customized solutions, either for the helicopter itself or for the support during operation. EC UK will expand its service offers for the different market segments to provide “bespoke” solutions—be it for police, VIP, utility or EMS missions. By the way, EC UK will also offer its highly cultivated design and customization capabilities to the other members of Eurocopter’s worldwide group.
Can you tell us briefly about the notion of “global offers”?
M.S.: "Global offers” are already standard practice in the UK. Drawing upon EC UK’s dense network of maintenance and field rep sites (i.e. Dublin, Belfast, Hawarden, Bedford, New castle, RAF Benson), the objective is to further enhance proximity, reactivity and service offers, such as training, for our customers. Currently 60 customers rely on full service maintenance contracts. We are committed to keeping our customers at the heart of all of our activities.