PHI Group (PHI) has signed a long-term Special Component Plan (SCP) with Leonardo that will bring PHI's AW139 helicopter fleet back into an OEM-level power-by-the-hour (PBH) agreement. PHI, a helicopter service provider for energy, search and rescue and air medical transport missions, currently operates a fleet of 20 AW139 and AW109 helicopters.
The new agreement, the first SCP in the United States to be also global, supporting PHI's three main operating regions in the Americas, EMEA and APAC, will be dedicated to the existing fleet of AW139s in service to provide long-term maintenance support to help mitigate cost uncertainty and standardise maintenance expenses that are more directly correlated to flight hours. Also, this agreement enhances and solidifies Leonardo's and PHI's partnership and cooperation.
The SCP PBH support model generates relevant benefits for the operator, based upon a data-driven approach. Among the benefits, better configuration control, a forecast of the fleet behaviour, as well as an optimisation of the overall asset management are key ingredients of the Special Components Plan proposal.
This data-driven approach will also leverage the recently established diagnostic services tower based in Sesto Calende, Italy, which, combined with a renewed fleet operations centre, builds a collaborative workspace with broad access to global fleet data. This service and the digital environment it recreates are fully in line with Leonardo's strategy focused on growing advanced digital services, especially when it comes to data monitoring, gathering and analysis, diagnostics and predictive maintenance services as well as smart assistance. The Special Components Plan thus will be an enabler for allowing real-time information about aircraft status and use, material service enhancement to best manage spares, analytics for data-driven training and flight operation optimisation.
Vittorio Della Bella, SVP customer support services and training, Leonardo Helicopters, says: “We're extremely pleased with the decision of PHI to come back to us to guarantee comprehensive support and maintenance coverage for its AW139 and AW109 fleet. The range of service plans and digital services we've developed in-house in recent years, designed around our latest generation helicopters featuring significant growth potential, provides second-to-none advantages, efficiency, low risk and high service customisation. We look forward to executing the new SCP programme for PHI.”
“Leonardo has presented an innovative new approach to the legacy cost-per-hour agreements,” says Keith Mullett, managing director, PHI Aviation. “This new PBH agreement will not only help control costs but also improve material dispatch reliability, allowing PHI to continue providing safe and reliable aircraft for our teams, our passengers and our customers.”
Based in Lafayette, Louisiana, PHI Group provides global helicopter solutions for customers in the energy, air medical and MRO industries. With a fleet of more than 200 helicopters spanning six continents, PHI has provided safe and efficient support to providers for more than 70 years.
In other news, GE Aerospace and PHI Aviation will be launching a pilot programme featuring GE's new digital engine health monitoring technology for CT7-8 engines, through its fleet support team. The objective of the programme is to refine and expand the tool, eventually making it available to operators of CT7-8 and other CT7 variants.
The CT7-8 is the exclusive powerplant for Sikorsky's S-92 helicopter. PHI was the S-92 and CT7-8 launch customer and today operates 34 S-92s. PHI's missions include flights for offshore energy, onshore mining, marine pilot transfer, air medical, SAR and technical services.
“PHI and GE have a longstanding partnership, and we're excited to continue building on that foundation to develop the next generation of digital engine health monitoring technology,” says John Ellyson, director of maintenance for PHI Aviation, Americas. “This technology will not only transform how we understand trends and behaviours of engine performance but will also set the stage for the future of proactive maintenance support.”