The CEO of the Wilson Airport-headquartered airline, Adrian Wilcox has revealed that the company will be adding to its Kenya and Ghana Air Operators Certificate (AOC)s with a new AOC in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The airline is also considering to increase its government sector work with a move into providing special missions aircraft.
Wilcox in an interview said:
“We’re looking at looking to be more focused on this sector moving forward, specifically, the special missions. We see that we can differentiate ourselves with our capability to provide special mission, primarily ISR, operating unique aircraft types with unique capabilities that enable us to work to support sticky contracts on multiple year basis, and which have a better yield than other contracts where the yield has been eroded by virtue of the competition.”
Aberdair will be looking at DA42 and DA62 special mission aircraft, he said.
The mainstay business in the resources sector – covering oil & gas and mining demands – and humanitarian will also see additions to the fleet.
Wilcox said the company would be acquiring Dash 8 aircraft to replace its Embraer 120s, which he added, had served Aberdair well. “We’re looking to be adding our first, probably a Dash 8-300 and dash 8, either -200 or -100 within the next three months.”
Over the past year Aberdair has been restructuring and following some strategic decisions it will be leading its fixed wing operations through a Ghanaian AOC and focus on rotary operations for its Kenyan AOC.
Wilcox said that rotary acquisitions could also follow.
“On the rotary fleet out of Kenya, we started with the H125, the B3 and the Squirrel which is tried and tested across Africa and a fantastic format in terms of multi mission single-engine helicopter operations – and then moving up to the BK117 during the course of 2021 which will give us multi- engine capability and IFR capability,” he said
Wilcox said he was excited by the AOC and prospects for the DRC business. With DRC not having restrictions on foreign ownership, Aberdair is the majority shareholder in the new operation with, what Wilcox describes as “very valuable and productive local partners.”
“We see DRC and our new office in Kinshasa as being a very prospective market. It’s very large, which sounds silly, but it’s a key attribute for a good aviation market, as opposed to Liberia where we were before. And it’s just by virtue of the size of the country means that you can build up the hours that you need to make the operation viable. But there’s obviously poor infrastructure.
There’s a new President and a new regime in place. And we expect that with a new President there is going to come change there, which is going to attract more investment in infrastructure and some big hydroelectric power projects, and we see that there’s going to be more mining activity there. And the UN has a significant presence there as well.”