Optima Aero Expands Its Europe Operations

Credit: Optima Aero

Optima Aero, a Montreal-based helicopter and engine asset management solution provider, has opened a new facility in Anglet, France to serve European and African helicopter operators and OEMs. 

The company grew its presence in Europe in May 2022, by launching Optima Aero Europe operations in New Aquitaine, France, in the Biarritz region. 

Located in the French Aerospace Valley, the new facility will foster collaboration with industry players like Safran and facilitate access to specialized resources in the region. 

Toby Gauld, president of Optima Aero, explains the company's move to Anglet: “In 2021, we were looking for real estate in the Biarritz area but we couldn't find anything that would accommodate our start-up requirements. Therefore, we took two leases: Lebenne and Anglet,’’ he says. 

“Lebenne was a staging area, and moving to Anglet is more of a medium-term solution" as it looks for land to build a larger facility, he explains. 

Optima Aero specializes in dismantling end-of-life helicopters and provides reconditioned helicopter parts for Airbus, Leonardo and Bell Fight helicopters. The new facility will mainly support Airbus and Leonardo operators.

This 10,000 ft.2 facility will offer aircraft maintenance services including, static component inspection, electric and dynamic component testing and fuel nozzle and component repairs. 

Along with that, it will offer EASA certified component refurbishment and certification capabilities, as well as a distribution center.  

Gauld tells Aviation Week that the company will dismantle one helicopter at a time, and he estimates that each will take about two weeks.  

“We are looking to part out 17 helicopters next year and potentially 25 helicopters the year after," he adds. The teardowns will be down at the French and Canadian facilities, as well as at some subcontractors because of the diversity of the models it supports.

Currently, Optima Aero supports seven helicopter models, and it is looking to support 10 models in near future. 

The expansion will also result in new job opportunities. Over the next two years, the company is planning to employ 20 technicians and commercial specialists in the region. 

Optima Aero aims to reduce the carbon footprint in the helicopter industry. It launched a new initiative to recognize the carbon footprint avoidance through reuse of serviceable helicopter parts. 

During European Rotors 2022 tradeshow in Germany, Optima Aero presented its first green certificates to Airbus Helicopters and Babcock France for their initiatives to avoid 9.1 and 81 tonnes of CO2, respectively. 

“We are focused on creating an optimal balance by increasing operators’ cash flow, reducing maintenance costs and making serviceable helicopter and engines parts available when and where you need them,’’ Gauld explains.  

Prachi Patel

Prachi Patel is a London-based Associate Editor for Aviation Week's MRO editorial team. She writes news articles and designs data infographics for Aviation Week's commercial aftermarket output.