Leonardo is ramping up its maintenance, repair and overhaul service to commercial helicopter customers in the UK in partnership with Aldenham Aviation, owner of Elstree Aerodrome, north of London.


Source: BillyPix

Gibbs (left) with Riccardo Del Duca, managing director of Leonardo Belgium

The Italian manufacturer, which announced the move at EBACE in Geneva, will lease a 650sq m (7,000sq ft) existing hangar at the general aviation airfield, but in the longer-term plans to develop a larger facility with Aldenham.

The operation will work alongside Leonardo’s European logistics centre in Liege, Belgium. There are around 170 AW109, AW139, AW169, and AW189 civil helicopters in service in the UK including in VIP, offshore, and medical evacuation configurations, but this is set to increase to more than 200 within two years as existing orders are delivered, says Paul Wilson, programme manager with Leonardo Belgium.

Leonardo has an MRO operation at its Yeovil factory, although this is focused on military helicopters.

Elstree, which promotes itself as a convenient fuelling alternative to the London Heliport in Battersea for helicopters serving the capital, is a former Second World War airfield and many of the buildings date from that era. However, Aldenham has plans to redevelop the aerodrome by attracting new tenants and investing in infrastructure, says managing director Humphrey Gibbs.