Leonardo and Shizuoka Air Commuter Corporation (SACC) of Japan announced the signing of a Service Centre Agreement to set up helicopter MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) capabilities in Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport.
The agreement foresees the construction and completion of a newly dedicated hangar in 2018, with operational readiness by spring 2019. The MRO centre will support the successful AW109 series and AW139 aircraft models with an annual capacity of up to 24 units and potential to grow its capacity based on market demand.
SACC’s MRO Centre will be the first Service Centre in Japan ranked ‘Excellent’ under Leonardo’s guidelines, expanding a local support network that already accounts for four service centres. ‘Excellent’ ranking is assigned to selected Service Centres focused on maintaining third-party fleets and having the largest scope of service capabilities, all while guaranteeing the continued achievement of Leonardo’s customers stringent expectations and considering specific market requirements. With over 100 helicopter service and maintenance centres worldwide to date, Leonardo plans to establish at least one ‘Excellent’ centre in all strategic markets. This step reflects a strong commitment to position the customer at the core of any activity undertaken by Leonardo, from design to through life cycle support.
Leonardo’s regional business headquarters, based in Tokyo, has been supporting the company’s growing helicopter business in Japan since 2008. Over 120 helicopters of various models are in service in the country today performing a wide range of missions including emergency medical service, law enforcement, search and rescue, firefighting, disaster relief, VIP/corporate transport, electronic news gathering and naval utility. With nearly 25 years of maintenance services supplied through a growing support network nationwide, Leonardo is set to strengthen the level of service in the future. The Japanese turbine helicopter market shows significant potential in the next few decades to replace ageing fleets with modern technology and up to 30 new units could enter the market every year.
Established in 1991, the Shizuoka Air Commuter Corporation (SACC), based in Shizuoka Prefecture where Mt. Fuji is located, has been providing operations and maintenance of helicopters and business jets for 25 years, maintaining a record of accident-free operations. SACC is also an operator of 2 GrandNew helicopters assembled by Leonardo and has supported the Dr Heli national emergency medical service programme since 2015. One of the most successful regional airlines in Japan, Fuji Dream Airlines (FDA), is the sister company of SACC.