After four months on the job as president of Pratt & Whitney Canada, Alain Bellemare intends to guide a company that becomes increasingly global in nature while capitalizing on the technology embodied in its current turbine engines. Former P&WC president Gilles Ouimet has been elevated to chairman, where he remains in a decision-making capacity, exercising high-level strategic direction of the company.
Asked about his strategic vision for Pratt & Whitney Canada, Bellemare, 41, replied, “We are going to keep driving the business very aggressively for the long run, exceeding customer expectations. On the service side, we will continue expanding our aftermarket product support. We now have over 37,000 engines flying in 180 different countries. It’s clear this is going to be a major focus over the next few years.” P&WC has 21 service centers on six continents.
Bellemare joined P&WC in October 1996 as v-p of manufacturing. He served as v-p of operations and executive v-p until being named president in May this year. The Montreal native graduated from the University of Sherbrooke and earned an MBA from McGill University. In 1983 he studied aeronautical engineering at the French École Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs en Construction Aéronautique (ENSICA) in Toulouse, France. He then accepted a job offer from Crown Cork and Seal Canada, a subsidiary of Continental Can, which gave the 23-year-old the opportunity to plan, design, build and operate a state-of-the-art production facility. Bellemare joined Kraft Foods Canada in 1989, where he held a series of executive positions through 1996. He has been named to the Canadian national list of “Top 40 Under 40” executives.
Bellemare said of the corporate market, “We are extremely well positioned with the PW300 and PW500 families on a large number of business jets. The goal is to consolidate this position by penetrating the low end of the market with our new PW600 family and, for the high end, we look to leverage the PW800 core for corporate applications.”
For the regional jet airline market, where P&WC has not been very active lately, Bellemare said, “We’re looking at a PW800 version that will be a game changer.” P&WC might also look at a growth version of the PW300 family for high-end applications, “whatever is most appropriate for a particular airplane.” Other than the PW306 on the Dornier 328, P&WC has had no recent regional jet applications, Bellemare noted. “We know the regional market very well through our turboprops. We will now extend our presence at the turboprop level into the turbofan end of the regional market.”
Bellemare said the PT6 series continues strong in the helicopter market, while “the PW200 family has captured, between the PW206 and -207, a significant portion of the light-twin market, including the Agusta 109 Power and MD Explorer. For our new turboshaft family, the PT6-67, we are looking for new applications beyond the PT6-67C on the Bell/Agusta AB139.
“We believe that in the long run international business will offer significant opportunities,” he continued. “By that I mean Russia and China in particular. We have had many new applications in those countries over the past three to five years. At present we’re working with Russia and China on potential new regional jets. We are well positioned with manufacturing facilities in China. In Russia we have a design bureau in St. Petersburg, making us the only Western engine company to have a Russian design license. This allows us alone to design and certify engines in Russia. We are on the Ilyushin-114 with the PW100 family. We’re trying to have a complete local presence that includes engineering, manufacturing and after-market services.”
Bellemare said his company is prepared to spend money in support of such a worldwide presence. “We are the largest Canadian investor in aerospace R&D, and second in overall R&D. New program development is at the top of our priorities, in good times and bad times. As a result, we’ve certified over 40 engines over the last eight years alone.”
Asked if he foresees significant changes in the structure or nature of P&WC, Bellemare responded that international partnerships will become greater components of a strategy to achieve a greater global presence. “You will see more joint ventures such as our present strategic partnership with MTU and Fiat on the PW800, which is an extension of what we’re doing on the -300 and -500 families. We are also actively working with Airbus with the PW180 engine for the A400M European military transport.”