As a commuting statement there is nothing that quite compares to boarding a helicopter and being whisked away even as the city skyline fadesbeneath you. Movie buffs would remember ascene from Two Weeks Notice where billionaire George Wade’s car breaks down and he calls for an alternative means of transport. In this case, it is a private helicopter which takes Wade and his colleague up to the skies even as Frank Sinatra’s immortal ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ plays in the background.
It is an iconic moment and it showcases the helicopter as an incomparable means of urban commuting. Even if we take away the movie context, the helicopter as a means of commuting for the corporate achiever, is a concept whose time has come. The reasons for it are manifold and they all have bearing on the way corporations and entrepreneurs have evolved in the past few years. Technology has made the world a smaller place than it used to be and the modern-day businessman has professional engagements that are diverse and often geographically separated from each other. The corporate helicopter therefore, is gradually moving from being a grand statement to a necessity. “If you look at helicopters, they were initially developed as a life-saving tool,” says Ashish Saraf, Head of Airbus Helicopters, India and South Asia. “But when they were adapted into a corporate milieu, they were done so as a last-mile connectivity tool. You can arrive at locations where you cannot otherwisearrive through means of a fixed wing aircraft
or by conventional ways of road transport or waterways. That is the reason why the branding for ACH is Arrive Anywhere.”
Airbus launched the ACH globally in 2017 and has a range of bespoke products and services for customers who need to pack in a lot during their working hours. In fact, economy of time and safety are two of the primary factors that have fuelled the need for a corporate helicopter. Take the case of a businessman who stays in a metropolis but has factories in either suburban areas or a satellite city. Taking an aircraft whether private or commercial, might take an average of three to four hours. Similarly, road transport could take the same amount of time and if we factor in concerns about road safety and the fatigue of road travel, it doesn’t add up to a great option.
The corporate helicopter addresses both these needs and provides an attractive alternative. Door-to-door commuting saves time and the four hour trip gets reduced to an hour or so. You can maximise time for entrepreneurs to talk to the media or their business partners even as they move from point to another. ACH understands that the requirements of acorporate achiever are very specific and goal-oriented which is the reason why there must be a high rate of availability for the customer. A helicopter may
not be a daily requirement for most users but it must be available when they need it. Travel plans for these high-achieving individuals are based on a wide range of factors and therefore, cancellation of trips have far-reaching andwidespread consequences. To address this, ACH offerHCare First, the rotorcraft industry’s most comprehensive support package, which provides a concierge-style service providing support anywhere across the globe.
“We are the only Original Equipment Manufacturer(OEM) that has both fixed wing (ACJ) and helicopters(ACH) that are dedicated to corporate customers or private aviation customers. This is a unique experiencethat you will not find anywhere else in the world. We also have very specific partnerships which allow us to delivergreat value to our clients. For example our partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Hermes allows us to deliver bespoke interiors.” says Ashish Saraf.
There is no doubt that this sense of exclusivity comes at a price. But Airbus has ensured that all its machines create tremendous value for money for their clients. The purchase of an Airbus machine is actually an investment because it is the only OEM in the world whose products preserve higher resale value over the years, mainly because of a dedicated care and support by the manufacturer. This, combined with the fact that Airbus has a fully owned subsidiary in India for comprehensive support and services has enabled the company to spread out its wings and acquire a 35% plus share of the Indian market.