Aircraft maintenance plan provider JSSI is pushing harder into the red-hot helicopter market. The company recently hired Ray Weiser as its new helicopter program specialist and will soon unveil several programs aimed at the helicopter market, according to CEO Neil Book.
Weiser joins JSSI after a diverse career in helicopter maintenance with the U.S. Army, as a commercial helicopter maintenance inspector and as an OEM technical representative before assuming senior management positions. JSSI has offered helicopter programs since 1995 and now offers engine programs for most makes of civil helicopter; however, its tip-to-tail programs are limited to mainly light twins for customers in the medevac, law enforcement and corporate markets.
“We gravitated toward EMS, because that [market] has had the greatest demand for our programs,” Weiser noted. “However, we’ve seen a significant increase in law enforcement interest and we are targeting the corporate market. We’re aggressive at looking at the latest platforms,” he said, revealing that JSSI recently announced programs for both the AgustaWestland AW119 and the Bell 429.
“We’re covering a couple of hundred helicopters right now versus where I think we should be in our lifecycle,” said Book. “We believe that we have underserved the helicopter market in terms of the breadth and width of our programs. To date we haven’t had the sales to match our program coverage. We believe we are going to build a significant helicopter business with Ray at the helm. The real driver behind Ray coming on board is simple: We need to do a better job of harnessing our talent and 20 years of data and translate that into large-scale global sales. I see it as a huge, huge growth opportunity for JSSI.”
Book said JSSI intends to offer more diverse coverage for larger helicopters serving the offshore energy market worldwide. “We have 70 technical reps worldwide. The oil-and-gas market is a place where we need to go. Our programs bring great value to that sector. We see large-scale opportunities and we need to play a larger role in that space and certainly intend to do so,” he said. That includes forging alliances with leasing companies increasingly serving that market segment. “We are in discussions with the large leasing companies and hope to have a partnership to announce in the short term.”
“The medium and heavy twins are where we are going to go,” said Weiser. “We have programs in the works for both the [AgustaWestland] AW139 and the [Airbus] EC225,” he said.
Weiser said JSSI and leasing companies are a natural fit. “Our programs provide residual value. When the leasing companies purchase aircraft they are looking at a three- to five-year [initial] lease, but they also need to look at the value of that asset seven or ten years down the road when they are getting ready to trade or sell the helicopter.”
Weiser said that JSSI was better placed than OEMs to customize programs to fit specific customer requirements and can provide a level of service that saves customers money in the long run. “A lot of smaller and even medium-sized operators don’t have the available manpower or technical expertise to send someone to oversee an engine teardown done by an OEM or other outside shop. We have product specialists who are with the engine and provide that technical guidance. That is a huge asset and creates tremendous value for the operator. Every dollar he saves in his maintenance reserve will be another dollar he has down the road when it comes time to transfer the program or sell the aircraft. If we can save you $20 per flight hour on your [engine] overhaul because we have managed the event, that is a tremendous saving.”