Arc en Ciel Aviation in Dakar, Senegal, has received third country operator (TCO) approval for medical flights between Africa and Europe. “We carry out a lot of medevac and there is a huge market for it between western Africa and all of Europe,” says chief pilot Guillaume Nicot. “That is why we made the decision three years ago to invest in a new aircraft, a Piper PA42 Cheyenne III, to enhance our activity in western Africa and to perform this kind of operation at low cost.
“The process was a very big one, because EASA made a lot of
requests of us. As a result, we made
many improvements to the organisation of the company and its processes, not to mention several modifications in the internal documents. Add to that a quality survey, and you have a process that lasted three years.”
Nicot is unsure about the impact the approval will have on passenger operations, because at the moment he doesn’t have a suitable aircraft for charter between the continents. But he has no doubts about the boost it will give to medical ops. “The good thing now is that we have the base, so if we can see the market growing, I will look at a jet and investigate it.
“This year we have been focusing on bringing maintenance in line with EASA Part 145 regulations.
The TCO process was taking a long time so we concentrated on maintenance, safety and training improvement. I would like to have an option for the VIP market though. Ultimately, it takes a lot of work to make these major improvements that will give us financial security.”