Part of the Airwork Group, Airwork Africa specialises in helicopter leasing and provides tailored aviation solutions to meet the needs of emergency medical services, police, search and rescue, oil, gas and mineral exploration and tourism operations. The company sees itself as a big part through the provision of aviation services to any mining project in remote areas of Africa.
In the past 18 months, the African mining sector has been on a recovery path, judging from a noticeable increase in the launch of exploration, as well as greenfield and brownfield projects in the region. Based on this trend, Airwork Africa sees more opportunities opening up for tailored aviation services. Donovan Foley, Airwork’s Regional Account Manager Africa, views this as the opportune time to raise awareness about its scope of services to potential clientele in mining.
The location of mining projects in remote sites, which are difficult to reach using conventional means, makes the use of aviation solutions for a wide range of applications a more convenient option. And Airwork Africa is perfectly positioned to meet constantly changing needs of clients in the sector.
Helicopter leasing and tailored aviation solutions
Part of the Airwork Group, Airwork Africa specialises in helicopter leasing and provides tailored aviation solutions to meet the needs of emergency medical services, police, search and rescue, oil, gas and mineral exploration and tourism operations. This versatility supports a broad customer base diversified across industries and geographies. Thus far, its range of services spans the following areas:
- Precision Long Line (powerline, drill rigs, underslung survey equipment, construction)
- Passenger transport
- Remote operations
- High value product transport
- Fully supported long term ACMI contracts with bespoke engineering support packages
- Adapting to individual clients corporate HSE regulations and BARS and OPG
- Cat A performance operations
- Wet and dry lease
- BK117-850D2 sales.
Foley says that Airwork expects more enquiries about its solutions from prospective clients involved in exploration projects, particularly the long-term ACMI contracts and wet and dry lease packages. He spells out what these two areas entail: “Our ACMI packages include nose to tail maintenance, Crew rostering and Insurance of the Operation. Airwork leases and charters helicopters on a range of terms tailored to customer requirements. Lease contracts are usually priced on an ‘hour-of-use’ basis, subject to minimum usage requirements, or on a monthly or hourly charge rate agreed with the customer. Charges generally include the cost of maintenance based on an agreed program to meet prescribed standards.”
Wet lease is a lease that includes fuel in the hourly cost of the aircraft and Dry lease option is one that excludes the cost of fuel. This would mean the client would be liable for the fuel cost.
Safety, maintenance and support
One thing that Airwork is emphasising is that its business is not only about offering exact solutions that clients require, but also adhering to safety requirements, an aspect which mining companies are very particular about. In fact, the company prides itself as being a company with foundations strongly based on sound Safety and Quality principles.
On Airwork’s approach to safety, Foley explains: “Our Safety and Quality Management System is integral to the every-day operations within our company and is instilled in every staff member. We promote the just culture reporting model, a Safety Management System (SMS) and a quality assurance programme with the emphasis on creating a transparent and safe working environment. Our emphasis on developing a healthy safety culture within the company takes precedent. In addition all helicopters are fitted with Flight Cell DZM tracking and satellite technology along with an aircraft monitoring systems.”
“Our systems are based on proven international practices and undergo frequent in-depth audits and assessments from accredited firms thereby ensuring compliance with local and international standards/regulations. As the aviation industry is constantly evolving, our system framework has been developed to allow for continuous improvement thereby ensuring a modern and efficient approach to all operations.”
Maintenance is a key aspect of Airwork’s safety programme. Its Helicopter Maintenance division provides maintenance and support services for BK117, AS355, AS350, MD500, EC120, EC145, B206, B222 and B427 helicopters. Also, Airwork offers Turbine support services and are FAA, EASA, SACAA, CAANZ Part 145 approved.
“We are an approved Honeywell Service Centre and have a state of the art approved engine test cell. Rental/exchange engines, modules and accessories. Our Dynamic Component Overhaul department can offer complete inspection, repair and overhaul. Airwork is also an authorised Airbus and Kawasaki Service Centre.
“We are specialists in inspection, repair and overhaul of dynamic components for BK117, AS350/355, EC130 and B206. Loan components, rental modules and accessories are also available along with full technical field support,” Foley says.
Airwork provides routine and heavy aircraft maintenance and support globally – for both its own fleet and external customers. In addition, the maintenance teams operate remotely and can be mobilised to offer surge engineering support through on-location maintenance services worldwide – frequently on short notice – for ad hoc or overflow support.
Retrofits and refurbishments
Above and beyond helicopter leasing and tailored aviation solutions, the company offers refits & refurbishments, including:
- Custom fits and role changes for EMS, government agencies, corporate, agriculture and tourism
- All forms of insurance work
- Conversion to Honeywell LTS101 engines utilising the Soloy SD/SD2 or HeliLynx FX/FX2 STC kit.
There are a number of players in the helicopter services and tailored aviation solutions sphere. Despite this development, Foley confidently states that Airwork has the edge over other helicopter services companies, more especially in the African mining sector. “We are a very capable and dynamic company with the support from our globally located engineers and operations. Our resources are able to reach and place assets and personnel to suit client requirements throughout Africa.”
Based in South Africa at Wonderboom Airport, Pretoria, Airwork Africa has a unique depth of experience and capability in operating in remote and austere environments across the African continent. Its industry-leading capabilities in this highly specialised field enable the company to provide comprehensive turnkey aviation services.
Airwork Africa’s growth has been phenomenal.
The company has been successfully operating in South Africa since 2005 and has scaled greater heights in tailored aviation solutions since. Airwork Africa was formed in 2014 and its purpose is to provide a foothold in Africa and to further facilitate the diverse range of aviation services.
Contracts supported over this time include powerline, construction, offshore oil and gas exploration, seismic drilling programmes, support for the development of a large West African mining project and other complex exploration projects.