London Biggin Hill airport-based Oriens Aviation has signed an agreement with Pilatus to extend its exclusive UK and Ireland authorised Pilatus centre status to include the PC-24. Oriens is ramping up tooling and sending engineers to Stans, Switzerland for training to add the twin-engined jet to its Part 145 MRO approvals, and expects to achieve this by the end of the third quarter.
“We are delighted to be widening our partnership with Pilatus with the new PC-24 and look forward to creating a sales centre showcase at our Biggin Hill home,” says CEO Edwin Brenninkmeyer. “The aircraft is a real game-changer in the light jet market, blending the short field performance of a turboprop, the speed of a light jet and a generous cabin, akin to that offered by midsized jets. The large cargo door, 10 passenger seats and unique unpaved field performance capable of landing and taking off from both paved and unpaved runways of 893m and above makes this jet unlike any other.”
VP of general aviation at Pilatus Ignaz Gretener adds: “We are very pleased to extend our relationship with Oriens Aviation to the PC-24. Edwin and his team have proved to be a terrific partner supporting the PC-12 since the outset and naturally we endorse their credentials as a valued Pilatus family ambassador.”
The announcement comes as Oriens celebrates its first anniversary as an authorised Pilatus service centre and four years as the OEM's representative, facilitating the introduction of 10 Pilatus PC-12s into service in its region.
Oriens' MRO division was bolstered at the beginning of this year with the addition of Stuart Locke, formerly of TAG Farnborough Maintenance Services, as general manager. He plans to triple the number of productive manhours, 90 per cent of which are devoted to the Pilatus PC-12, versus 2018, through the introduction of new processes and work methods, responding to peaks in MRO activity. The organisation is also upping its technician and engineering resources.
Oriens Maintenance is now able to offer AOG support at airports and small airfields around the UK and Ireland with the introduction of a fully equipped vehicle as a mobile support centre and workshop. It is big enough to carry an electrical/air generation system, large components, jacks or even a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 aircraft engine.
Oriens Aviation is now supporting more than 20 Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, with a number of private UK customers having moved from Bournemouth Aviation Services since the Bournemouth facility dedicated itself solely to supporting the PC-12 fleet of parent company Jetfly at the start of the year.
Late last year Oriens also agreed to ally with Oysterair and secured UK CAA approval to commence pilot training courses at its Biggin base. To date, one PC-12 legacy renewal course has been completed and two active PC-12NG courses are currently ongoing. “The emphasis is to combine traditional teaching methods with modern multi-media platforms in a course that covers EASA and FAA approvals and class ratings. All PC-12 instructors working with Oriens actively fly the PC-12 as line pilots,” explains Oysterair MD Jonathan Shooter.
Ahead of the PC-24 support, the company is enhancing its customer service capabilities. Former MD of Motorcycle UK Susan Duke joins as business support manager, while Charlotte Wroe, who has served as executive assistant since joining Oriens in 2017, is now customer relationship manager.