Turbomeca Canada, inaugurated 10 months ago, is a year ahead of its business plan thanks largely to the helicopter engine retrofit market, says managing director Hélène Séguinotte. She says 42% of all Turbomeca engines power helicopters operated worldwide by Canadian Helicopter and the Vancouver Island Helicopters group, although Turbomeca holds only 10% of the Canadian helicopter market, giving it room for expansion.

Séguinotte says Turbomeca Canada's objective is "that everything that flies [with a Turbomeca engine] in North America must be repaired in North America". In anticipation of winning more than its current market share, Turbomeca has invested C$10 million ($8 million) in its Canadian facility, buying 10,000m2 (110,000ft2) at Montreal's Mirabel airport, with an option for a further 5,000m2.

Turbomeca Canada is targeting three areas where there are potential contracts. The first is with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which operates four Eurocopter AS350B Ecureuils and is looking at a fifth by the end of this year. The second is for the Canadian Department of National Defence's Contracted Flying Training and Support programme. Turbomeca believes there is a potential order for between 28 and 36 new engines if either the Arrius 1A-powered AS355N Ecureuil or Arrius 2K1-powered Agusta A109 are selected for the rotary-wing element of the programme. The third is Canada's long-delayed Maritime Helicopter Programme, where the NH Industries NH90 is one of three candidates. If chosen, there could be an order for up to 56 RTM322s, Séguinotte says.

Turbomeca Canada repairs and overhauls helicopter engines at its Mirabel base, and options for the plant include a final assembly line.

Séguinotte says the factory has the capacity to repair 110-120 engines a year and gives a first-year forecast on earnings from repair and overhaul of the Arriel 1 at C$15 million. The company forecasts earnings of C$40 million by 2007, based on Arriel 1 repairs.

Meanwhile, Turbomeca's Arriel 2C2 CG turboshaft has been declared available for potential upgrade of US Coast Guard Eurocopter HH-65 Dauphins following flight testing on the helicopter. The Arriel 2C2 provides 12% more power than the 1C1, and features a new axial compressor and diffuser and single-crystal turbine material. USCG HH-65s are powered by Honeywell LTS101s.

Source: Flight International