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Perspectives: Moulay puts faith in latest Bell models
Bell's B407 and B429 are performing well in the VIP segment, and the lighter B505 has also been well-received around the globe. It predicts that the 16 to 19-seat Bell 525 will be a game-changer in the offshore market.
Bell's senior VP of international business Patrick Moulay.
Read this story in our June 2019 printed issue.

In our Perspectives series, Business Air News discusses private aviation experiences with industry professionals. This month we hear from Patrick Moulay, senior VP of international business at Bell. The OEM is looking to combat a chronic dip in the market, particularly in the oil and gas segment, by introducing exciting new platforms globally.

“I have to say that it is still a very soft market; I cannot say that the industry has really taken off from the bottom that we reached a couple of years ago, so it is still a tough environment. The main segment of the market that has been impacted over the last few years has been the oil and gas segment, where we see way too many aircraft idle and not utilised. As an OEM, until we can see that all of those used aircraft are starting to fly again, it is very difficult to introduce new platforms. We are watching this very carefully. Obviously some of the operators and some of our customers have been suffering quite a bit, and we can’t foresee a recovery before a couple of years from now.

“However, we are very excited, because we have two new types entering the market at this time. On one side we have the Bell 505, which is the smallest aircraft we have in our portfolio. What I like about this aircraft is that it is a very affordable solution for people who are trying to enter the helicopter market. I'm pleased to see that many of our customers are first-comers into the industry, so we are giving access to a helicopter product to people that hadn’t considered helicopters before. The aircraft is extremely cost-effective to run, and we are seeing a lot of private VIP customers that want to have their own helicopter and are flying themselves. We launched the type a couple of years ago, and the success has been quite impressive worldwide. In Europe alone we have delivered 35 aircraft already. It can be single pilot or dual, and has dual FADEC and a full glass cockpit, so it is a nice aircraft for the price point you are looking at.

“On the other side of the spectrum you have the Bell 525, which is a 16 to 19 seat helicopter that will be certified at the end of the year. We are dedicating it more for the oil and gas segment as well as SAR and coast guard missions. I would say that it is probably the most advanced helicopter that has ever been developed for these industries, on the commercial side. It is the first aircraft certified to operate commercially fly-by-wire. We believe it is a game-changer for Bell. We do see some opportunities in the VIP segment for the 525 as well, but that will be a niche for customers who are looking for the best of the best in terms of safety, comfort and speed.

“The B505 has been successful all over the world, in South America and particularly in Brazil. In China we have sold 110 of them over the last two years, and it has been popular in Europe, as well as the US. Its versatility is its strength; it is a good platform for corporate, for utility and for law enforcement, and news gathering missions can be fulfilled as well. Even utility operators carrying out pipe line inspections can use the 505. We are seeing success across different regions and across different segments. It is doing the work that was previously carried out by a bigger, heavier single engine helicopter. I am glad to see that operators have realised that they can do the same mission with the 505 at a much lower price point, which is good for their bottom line.

“Working with Textron Aviation has been a very critical partnership, particularly on the VIP segment. We have found that most of the customers who have a helicopter also have a jet, so we think that the customer base is very similar. We have a chance to organise events together, where we can expose Textron Aviation customers to our product and vice versa. It’s a successful cooperation between two sister companies.

“We still have the Bell 407 and the Bell 429, which are still very popular on the VIP segment. On the 429 you can have a decent discussion with fellow passengers without the need for a headset. The level of comfort and reduction of vibration is impressive, and that is the standard that we want to introduce to our customer base.”

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March 26, 2024
In an effort to increase reliability, situational awareness and decreased pilot workload, the BasiX-Pro kit delivers the latest integrated flight deck, high-resolution displays as well as engine data and flight operation recording.
Aerial Patrol gains Bell 505 for powerline and pipeline missions
March 11, 2024
The Bell 505 will be used exclusively for comprehensive utility inspections.