FEATURE: LEONARDO HELICOPTERS can bring us new techniques, new modelling approach, and we bring the experience.” Mauro Moretti, Leonardo CEO and general manager, described the agreement as an exciting opportunity to expand Leonardo’s scope of activities in Singapore.
Leonardo’s family of new generation helicopters
New name, new frontiers: Soaring far beyond Italy
Leonardo Helicopters, maker of the world-renowned AgustaWestland fleet, is spreading its wings further by collaborating with a Singaporean university.
aking inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci – a symbol of innovation, research, and creativity – Italian company Finmeccanica ushered in a new era by changing its name to Leonardo in 2016. What used to be a holding company of independent businesses is now one company integrated and organised in divisions with a focus on high-tech products and services. The Helicopter Division, which is able to manage the entire helicopter development and production cycle, has plants concentrated in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland, and the United States. Beyond these domestic markets, Leonardo is keen to fly to new heights. The Singapore ‘seed’ In May 2016 Leonardo signed an agreement with Nanyang Technological University for a research collaboration. The partnership, Leonardo’s first in Asia as previous collaborations were with 46 SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW JANUARY 2017
When you go to Singapore and want Leonardo to be recognisable there as a helicopter manufacturer, you need to be there.
academic institutions in Europe, aims to facilitate sharing of talents and know-how to develop engineering and industrial capabilities. Luca Medici, head of research & technology at Leonardo Helicopters, told Singapore Business Review, “I see it as a cross-functional fertilisation between us and Asia.” When asked whether the deal is a sign of Asian expansion with the possibility of putting up a plant in Singapore, Medici likened the collaboration to a seed. He said, “When you go to Singapore and want Leonardo to be recognisable there as a helicopter manufacturer, you need to be there.” Medici commented further that it’s a win-win situation. “We go to the university and try to invest our future there, taking advantage of the work they can provide and at the same time transferring to them our capability and expertise.” Daniele Romiti, managing director at Leonardo Helicopters, echoes the sentiment. He said, “Universities
‘Think Customer’ ethos Leonardo is proud to say it is not only a rotary-winged manufacturer, with its through-life approach making the big difference. The Division provides all associated services needed to operate the helicopters – support, training, maintainance, and integration in specific environments and areas. In Sesto Calende where they have the main training academy for pilots and engineers where they use state-of-the-art simulators as well as real aircraft, the company also has a 24/7 fleet operations centre. In addition, there are regional support centres, training academies, and satellites around the world to assist customers in different continents. Paolo Petrosso, head of Italy training operations, said, “We recognise that we are now a global company and our products are flying all over the world, so going closer to the customer is essential to maintain that competitive advantage.” He explained how training is part of through-life support, with a helicopter purchase being ‘almost for life’ as the aircraft lasts 20, 30-plus years. Petrosso said, “Training is a fundamental element of the relationship our company has with the customers because it’s not only about technical knowledge but it’s also about the safety of the flying crew. That’s the key element of our strategy – customer service and training – is to ensure that our products are operated at the highest safety standard.” For him, being seen as a product that is safe and equally effective is the best marketing tool Leonardo can have. Leonardo Helicopters has more than 1,400 customers served in 105 countries by over 12,000 people, with a fleet of about 5,000 helicopters around the world. By Terry Gangcuangco