Given the Covid pandemic’s significant impact on businesses, air services received quite a blow on their operations and consequently on earnings. However, this has not been the case for Direct Helicopter’s freight line which got a boost in its profits through the transportation of used helicopters.
Direct Helicopter is a Canada-based company that provides full-service, helicopter transportation services. According to the CEO, Dave Urban, after finalizing their financial reports in 2020, they found that it had exceeded 2019, which set a new record for the company. “Revenue was low, but the gains were up, just in the deals’ nature,” he explained.
A regular job for the shipping line entails a helicopter first being lifted to the company’s base in the U.S. at Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina. It is then dismantled by technicians, packed, and loaded onto a 747 freight aircraft, which carries it either to its final stop or a nearby point where it can be reassembled and flown to the destination. “They want someone who will handle insuring the aircraft, taking it apart, packing it up, doing all export and import customs as well as delivery, and we are the only company you can contact to do all that,” Urban added.
Urban, holding significant shares in the Senator International based in Germany, has access to a 767 airlifter by Magma Aviation and five 747-400BCFs. In a week, the company makes six cargo flights to Germany from South Carolina, and two flights from Chicago. It also has scheduled routes which include Mexico, Brisbane in Australia, Singapore, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Through the Senator connection, the company is also able to request diversions or additional stops to drop off or pick up a helicopter on the way.
Dave Urban confirmed how the changes caused by Covid-19 with regards to the global economy have had unexpected effects on his business. One of them being how air freight prices have been driven down due to declining performance in America’s exports. This explains why they have been busy with the exports out of America, since he maintains that he can beat any commercial airline when it comes to price, out of America. The company also had to make a change in its operations, with regards to its engineering staff. Due to the health restrictions in place and the decline in commercial flights, he could no longer send his technicians who were contracted to perform the required services on the helicopters. He ended up relying on his customers’ maintenance staff.
Direct Helicopter has also experienced growth in the transportation of helicopter parts, with their biggest lane being North America to Africa. In a bid to facilitate the transport of ungainly, large parts including rotor blades, it has partnered with Advanced Composite Structures, a top blade repair shop.
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