GA BUYER EUROPE MAGAZINE (GAB) speaks to Edwin Brenninkmeyer, CEO about the all in one service Oriens Aviation will be providing to Pilatus PC-12 customers from its new facility in Biggin Hill.
GAB: In 2015 Oriens Aviation was founded as the exclusive Pilatus distributor for the British Isles and it continues to expand with the December 2017 acquisition of Avalon Aero’s MRO base at London Biggin Hill Airport. How will your customers benefit from the addition of the new services you can now provide?
EDWIN: Taking maintenance in-house ensures that we secure comprehensive in-territory support for our customers, giving them reassurance that we are here to stay and are prioritising only their interests, for the long-term.
We are all things Pilatus and aim to look after our clients throughout the complete lifecycle of their aircraft ownership – from advising on the best aircraft for their mission profile, to buying,maintenance, aircraft management and even to selling their aircraft and upgrading to a new model at a later date.
Pilatus take pride in having achieved the #1 spot for service by Professional Pilot magazine, for the last 16 years consecutively. For this reason, they strongly endorse and support Oriens’ approach to taking maintenance in-house.
GAB: Can you tell us more about your newest maintenance facility and the services Oriens Aviation will be providing at Biggin Hill?
EDWIN: For a premium business aviation service centre, proximity to the capital was an obvious choice and London Biggin Hill airport is the best when it comes to location, opening hours, facilities and aeronautical fees.
The newly acquired Avalon Aero team has a combined 150 years’ aircraft maintenance experience and has routinely worked on several complex types from the BAE 146 to Hawkers and Citations, to King Airs and piston twins.
The team is led by Chief Engineer Steve Westran, who has 35 years’ engineering experience, is a 4500 hour commercial pilot and will have attended B1, B2 and pilot type-rating courses, specifically for the PC-12.
Commercial, strategic and personnel leadership of the whole operation falls to our Director of Maintenance Dave Plumpton who brings decades of international, MRO leadership and management experience, both in the airline and high-end business aviation industries.
This gives Oriens the ability to provide worldclass quality and service to its clients, for all Pilatus products.
Pilatus pride themselves in safety, quality and exceptional service above all else. Why take your aircraft anywhere other than the Pilatus approved facility, for complete peace of mind?
GAB: To date most of the PC-12 owners in the British Isles maintained their aircraft in Bournemouth at the former Pilatus UK facility. How will Oriens’ becoming an Authorised Pilatus Centre affect the service levels in Bournemouth?
EDWIN: With the exit of the previous Pilatus distributor, JetFly, Europe’s largest PC-12 operator immediately seized the opportunity to acquire the Bournemouth maintenance business to enhance their own operational excellence, agreeing to continue working on private, non-fleet aircraft until a new distributor became established.
Oriens is hugely indebted to JetFly for their support of our customers until we were ready to provide this service ourselves.
Now that we are fully ready to support our customers, Pilatus, Oriens and JetFly are all collaborating to ensure a seamless hand-over of support. Our key priority is to serve our customers for the long-term and we are grateful for JetFly’s continued support in assisting us to minimise customer disruption.
The Bournemouth Chief Engineer will work closely with us and with our customers to ensure that all parties are comfortable with the transition. This will allow us to focus on our customers and JetFly to focus exclusively on its own fleet, from 2019 onwards.
We are also delighted to confirm that Oriens Aviation is continuing its close collaboration with Goodwood, as a Satellite Service Centre for all Goodwood-based aircraft. The PC-12 is uniquely positioned as a large, pressurised aircraft that can routinely make use of Goodwood all year round and the relationship Oriens Aviation enjoys with Goodwood also extends to our customers who are granted exclusive membership privileges.
GAB: You are both a pilot and an aircraft owner. How does this influence your way of doing business and providing service to Oriens Aviation customers?
EDWIN: It lends credibility to the organisation that the owner of the business is deeply familiar with and passionate about the product and is personally able to demonstrate its full capabilities to customers.
As an aircraft owner myself for many years, I do understand what our customers expect from a first-class service centre and we will strive to exceed our customers’ expectations wherever possible.
The most important thing is communication and managing customers’ expectations on cost, at all times. No invoice should ever come as a surprise to the customer and our team will work on the aircraft as if it were their own and they were paying the bills themselves. The passion for the product and making the customer happy has to be the key driver for everyone in the organisation.
GAB: With your in-depth knowledge of the aviation industry how do you see General/Business Aviation sales unfolding in 2018? (i.e., there are some exciting aircraft ramping-up in production this year, including the PC-24).
EDWIN: 2017 has already been a good year for business aviation in Europe with industry growth generally well ahead of GDP growth, year-on-year. We expect this trend to continue in 2018 and with the much anticipated arrival of the PC-24, timing could not be better. Additionally, the recent approval of Single Engine IFR Commercial Transport operations in Europe will further catalyse Pilatus activity in the region, as more operators seek increased competitive advantage. Pilatus Aircraft have always been renowned for holding their value and this is largely due to accurate production planning. Pilatus Centres worldwide with strong local market knowledge place their orders with the factory one year in advance, accordingly. It is never too early to place a deposit on an aircraft and secure the next available delivery slot to ensure that the wait for a new aircraft is kept to a minimum.
GAB: What’s next for Oriens Aviation?
EDWIN: For 2018 the sole focus of Oriens Aviation will be on consolidating its recent growth and ensuring that our customers are optimally served during this year of transition, before any further expansion is considered.