Bell Heli­copter is an in­dus­try-lead­ing pro­ducer of com­mer­cial and mil­i­tary, manned and un­manned ver­ti­cal-lift air­craft and the pioneer of the revo­lu­tion­ary tiltro­tor air­craft. In an in­ter­view with Ro­hit Goel of SP’s AirBuz, the Manag­ing Direc­tor of Bell H

SP's Airbuz - - Front Page -

SP’s AirBuz (SP’s): How im­por­tant is the Asia-Pa­cific mar­ket for Bell and what is your growth fore­cast for the re­gion over the next three years? Sameer A. Rehman (Rehman): We main­tain op­ti­mism for the Asia-Pa­cific mar­ket, de­spite a global soft­en­ing of the com­mer­cial mar­ket — es­pe­cially the medium heli­copter mar­ket. Bell Heli­copter has main­tained a solid pres­ence in the re­gion for over 30 years, with an in­stalled fleet of 1,000 plus he­li­copters (over 1,100 if you in­clude China) serv­ing ev­ery mis­sion seg­ment.

We con­tinue to seek out key cer­ti­fi­ca­tions to en­hance our abil­ity to ad­dress cus­tomer needs. Re­cently, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X type cer­ti­fi­ca­tion was ac­cepted by the Aus­tralian Govern­ment’s Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Au­thor­ity (CASA). We con­tinue to see a lot of di­ver­sity through­out the re­gion, with in­ter­est across ev­ery seg­ment and ev­ery Bell Heli­copter plat­form. We had quite a num­ber of wins in re­cent years and an­tic­i­pate more in the next year, Philip­pines Air Force 412s, In­done­sian Po­lice 429s, In­done­sian Flight Cal­i­bra­tion Depart­ment 429s, NSW Po­lice 412Epi. SP’s: Which are the three big­gest seg­ments in the re­gion? Rehman: We see fan­tas­tic up­side for all of our prod­ucts which have amaz­ing flex­i­bil­ity. Our prod­ucts are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the great­est in­ter­est in HEMS, util­ity, and tourism. We con­tinue to have steady in­ter­est from cor­po­rate and VIP op­er­a­tors — par­tic­u­larly for the 429 and 412 plat­forms. The Bell 412EP re­mains the most rugged and re­li­able medium heli­copter on the mar­ket, cho­sen by the Philip­pine Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fense and de­liv­ered two months ahead of sched­ule. HEMS or­ders have steadily in­creased over the last two years, but we will con­tinue to have con­ver­sa­tions and demon­strate our air­craft ca­pa­bil­i­ties. SP’s: What prod­ucts does Bell of­fer in these ma­jor mar­ket seg­ments? Rehman: Bell Heli­copter’s port­fo­lio of prod­ucts is highly rel­e­vant to di­verse cli­mate and mis­sion needs of Asia-Pa­cific op­er­a­tors: With a speed of 125 knots (232 kmph), range of 340 nau­ti­cal miles (629 km) and use­ful load of 1,500 pounds (680 kg), the Bell 505 is de­signed to be safe and easy to fly while pro­vid­ing sig­nif­i­cant value to the op­er­a­tor. The cus­tomer-driven design places safety, per­for­mance and af­ford­abil­ity at the fore­front, blend­ing proven sys­tems with ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy and a sleek, mod­ern design. The Bell 412EP re­mains the most rugged and re­li­able medium heli­copter on the mar­ket. Our Asia-Pa­cific de­mon­stra­tion tour of the Bell 429WLG re­ceived great cus­tomer feed­back. SP’s: What are the or­gan­i­sa­tional strengths and prod­uct USPs of Bell for the re­gion? Rehman: It’s chal­leng­ing to as­sign one key char­ac­ter­is­tic to a re­gion as var­ied and di­verse as Asia-Pa­cific. We fo­cus di­rectly on the cus­tomer and their mis­sion re­quire­ments to en­sure we de­liver the right plat­form to fit our cus­tomers’ needs.

Bell 412: This is the right plat­form for para­pub­lic and util­ity op­er­a­tions.

Bell 407GXP: The demo tour of Nepal of Bell 407 plat­form show­cased its game-chang­ing per­for­mance in the high­est ter­rain, the Hi­malayan moun­tain ranges.

Bell 505: The CASA val­i­da­tion saw a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in or­ders. We saw strong con­ver­sion of let­ters of in­tent on the 505 and we see growth in the tourism and light util­ity sec­tors and in­creas­ing para­pub­lic rotorcraft us­age. SP’s: What is Bell do­ing to en­sure the growth of heli­copter MRO within the re­gion? Rehman: The Bell Heli­copter ser­vice cen­tre in Sin­ga­pore is a cli­mate-con­trolled fa­cil­ity which sup­ports new air­craft cus­tomi­sa­tion and de­liv­ery in ad­di­tion to main­te­nance, re­pair and over­haul. Bell Heli­copter Asia of­fers cus­tomers a con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion for new air­craft ac­cep­tance and main­te­nance train­ing within the re­gion. We con­tinue to in­vest in cus­tomer sup­port and ser­vice fa­cil­ity in Sin­ga­pore. Cur­rently, we have cus­tomer ser­vice en­gi­neers lo­cated in-re­gion to serve our cus­tomer base, as well as 14 cus­tomer ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties that sup­port our re­gional cus­tomers. SP’s: Be­sides China and In­dia, which are your ma­jor growth mar­kets in Asia-Pa­cific? Rehman: We see great po­ten­tial in the en­tire re­gion for our wide va­ri­ety of air­craft, but spe­cific coun­tries with the great­est de­mand at this point would be Thai­land, In­done­sia and the Philip­pines.

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