Eurocopter Southern Africa Limited (Esal), the South Africa-based subsidiary of European helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter, one of the world’s leading makers of the machines, has moved its main facility from Lanseria Airport to a R10-million purpose-built base at Grand Central Airport.
“Esal outgrew its Lanseria premises,” explained company CEO Fabrice Cagnat. “Our new facilities at Grand Central enable us to double our capacity. It also lets us bring everything together under one roof at a base which is conveniently located for our operators and customers.”
There are currently more than 230 Eurocopter helicopters operating in Southern Africa. “While we have a well-established presence and market share in the region, it is clear to us that there are positive growth prospects in sub-Saharan Africa,” he pointed out. “We want to ensure that we’re suitably positioned and equipped to take on additional work and to support our continually expanding client base.”
Although both airports are located in Gauteng province, Grand Central is much closer to Johannesburg and Pretoria, being roughly halfway between the two cities. It is also adjacent to both the M1 highway (the main road linking the two cities) and the Gautrain high-speed railway (which links Pretoria, Johannesburg and O R Tambo International Airport), which has a station near Grand Central.
“Our new high-tech facility incorporates a much bigger maintenance area, allowing us to accommodate more helicopters for inspections and maintenance,” he highlighted. “With expanded and dedicated workshops for rotor blades, dynamic components and electrical components and systems, we are able to increase our service, repair and overhaul capabilities.”
The new base covers 4 300 m2, in comparison to the 2 000 m2 that Esal had at Lanseria. While the Lanseria facility could accommodate only eight helicopters, the Grand Central premises can take 16. The new complex also has a training centre with classrooms, a number of meeting rooms and a hospitality and rest area.