Since 2007, Zil Air has provided luxury “limo services” using helicopter and fixed wing aircraft in Seychelles, Africa. The Zil Air fleet includes three Eurocopter EC120B helicopters and various fixed-wing aircraft models. Customers have used Zil Air for their first-class experience, including such amenities as satellite TV, wi-fi and cold refreshments in the VIP lounge, and air-conditioned comfort in flight.
Zil Air provides the ultimate in premium air transportation around the Seychelles Archipelago (located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar), accessing 21 helipads and 7 landing strips in the region.
Minimizing downtime is a challenge in remote locations
Since the majority of flights around the Seychelles islands occur over open water, Zil Air has relied for many years on DART Aerospace’s Emergency Flotation System (EFS) for operational safety. The DART EFS provides a significant weight reduction and has both reduced installation time and lowest cost available on the aftermarket.
Providing regular maintenance on the aircraft and ensuring that all safety systems are flight-ready has always been essential to Zil Air. At the same time, minimizing unprofitable downtime is a priority for Zil Air. The company looks for ways to efficiently perform scheduled maintenance and prevent unplanned interruptions, which can be extremely costly and a huge inconvenience for their customers. The remote location of Zil Air’s operations can also entail extra time to perform repairs, making unexpected downtime an even bigger challenge.
Originally, Zil Air would keep their EFS flight-ready by conducting in-house inspections and maintenance, and at times, would use DART service providers in European regions. In unexpected maintenance situations, they would need to request an exchange kit from DART, which would require them not only to disburse a large sum at once, but also have them sustain some downtime. Additional delays caused by shipping and customs would occur in cases where no care contract would exist.
The ideal solution
In order to reduce downtime while keeping the EFS in top working order, DART Aerospace offered Zil Air their Total Care Program. Via this program, Zil Air had the benefit of having their own private pool. The concept is explained as follows: Zil Air purchases a spare kit that they would finance over the first 4 years of this 6-year contract. This allows them to install their spare kit and keep the helicopter flying while the other kit is out for inspection/overhaul. Once that kit comes back from repair from the nearest DART service center, it would be put into stock at their facility, awaiting to be installed at the next inspection.
Having a spare kit on-hand, before actually needing it, as well as performing regular maintenance on it, would reduce the chances of the aircraft experiencing unscheduled downtime. Due to the remoteness of their location and the importance of avoiding operational downtime, Zil Air’s Total Care Program was indeed the ideal solution.
An additional cost-effective benefit
In addition to minimizing downtime, the Total Care Program also allows Zil Air to better plan operating expenses using a fixed rate that protects them from unanticipated price increases. A multi-year contract, such as this one, provides an accurate maintenance cost per year and confidence in planning full bookings of safe, operational aircraft. “This partnership will offer us flexibility in our planning which in turn will bring the sort of efficiency we are after in keeping our aircraft flying year-round. Zil Air operates extensively over water and being equipped with dependable and well supported systems is part of our safety-first culture” states Francis Savy, Executive Director at Zil Air.
The company’s Total Care Program has been in place since February 2018 and Zil Air’s spare kit arrived promptly from DART’s convenient European shipping location in May, allowing Zil Air to keep its flights running. Savy explains, “Zil Air is proud to have collaborated with DART on this Care contract for the supply and maintenance of its float systems for its fleet of EC120’s. We have been using DART float systems for a number of years and the service has been exceptional. The recent introduction of their care program just took the experience to a whole new level of customer service.”
Fast, reliable service and support for the helicopter and aerospace industry
“From our stand point, Zil Air’s situation and reality was a perfect opportunity for us to support them with the highest level of care for their float systems. It is as important to us to keep these aircraft in flight and make sure these kits are in the best conditions to keep their fleet and crew safe,” concludes Steve Ghaleb.