Customer proximity: Investing in our global support network

An ethos of being ‘closer to the customer’ is driving Leonardo Helicopters’ plans to strengthen its global Customer Support & Services network.

Customer proximity is paramount for Leonardo Helicopters. It means that wherever in the world our customers operate, we aim to be close at hand to provide the essential support needed to keep their fleets operating smoothly.
The Leonardo Helicopters Customer Support & Services (CS&S) network is the backbone for this commitment, stretching from the United States to South Africa and from Brazil to Australia. It encompasses numerous Leonardo subsidiaries and joint ventures as well as more than 90 third-party service centres and over 20 third-party repair facilities. The goal of the network is to ensure comprehensive coverage and benchmark levels of service worldwide, including in locations where Leonardo Helicopters does not have a direct presence. Together, the CS&S network provides year-round support for more than 1,400 customers in 140+ countries.

Anticipating customer needs

“Being close to the customer is not only about geographical proximity,” explains Vittorio Della Bella, SVP Customer Support and Training Worldwide Services. “We also want to work collaboratively with customers, listening to feedback and anticipating their requirements, which is why we have decided to invest significantly in the development of the network. It is absolutely right that our customers should expect the same response and level of service whatever their base of operations and no matter which Leonardo stakeholder or partner is providing the support.”

Enhanced service and repair centre model

One of the ways that support for customers is evolving centres on a fresh approach to the existing service centre and repair centre model. We are in the process of identifying and selecting partner companies with the capability to provide best-in-class support for helicopter and component maintenance in geographies where Leonardo Helicopters does not have its own support operation. The new service and repair centre network model will be launched in the second half of 2024.

We are also working behind the scenes to further develop the CS&S governance model with the aim of enhancing the integration of our subsidiaries into the company’s logistic and reporting systems. During 2024 we will be rolling out a state-of-the-art Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to all subsidiaries and by 2025 our subsidiaries will be able to call on an integrated tool to manage helicopter maintenance activities, which will enable greater sharing of data and insights into customers’ operational experience.

Strengthening the global network

As part of our service network strategy we are enhancing the support capabilities worldwide through a series of deployment projects. In North America, we will be strengthening the existing service and repair centres and increasing our local market coverage.
In Europe, Leonardo Belgium will be the reference point for the service network in Northern Europe, with plans to enhance maintenance capabilities through a new UK hub, as well as strengthening our footprint at Le Bourget.
We are further developing MRO capabilities in Australia with an AW139 main gearbox MRO centre due to be operational in the second quarter of 2024 alongside a similar focus on MRO enhancements in Brazil where we aim to introduce additional maintenance capability at our Itapevì facility. Meanwhile, to support customers in South-East Asia, we will be increasing our maintenance capacity to meet higher regional demand.
To enhance our offering in South Africa, we will aim to extend maintenance capabilities to include additional models such as the AW169 and AW189, while in China, support for the local market will become the responsibility of Leonardo China from early 2024. Finally, we are continuing to assess additional maintenance capabilities required in the Middle East through our AWAS joint venture, including collaboration with new MRO centres in the region.

People make the difference

Looking beyond infrastructure and global presence, Della Bella also reflects on the importance of people in delivering world-class service: “At the end of the day, we are nothing without the expertise and commitment of our team to support customers every day. The wider Customer Support Services & Training team comprises more than 2,000 people covering something like 25 different professional disciplines. Our people come from many different backgrounds and cultures and we aim to channel this diverse experience into supporting customers in the best possible way.”  


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