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Salus Aviation: Stronger together

Howard Slutsken | April 23, 2024

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 53 seconds.

From its roots, Salus Aviation is building on the strengths of its three legacy companies — Oceania Aviation and Airwork Helicopters, both based in Auckland, New Zealand, and Heli-Parts Network, located in Boulder City, outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Our official brand launch as Salus Aviation is taking place at Heli-Expo to showcase to the industry that we’re an international company with the capability to reach and support customers and operators around the globe,” said Greg Edmonds, CEO of Salus Aviation. “We have a history of providing high-quality products, service and innovation across all of the rotary- and fixed-wing capabilities — all built on decades and decades of experience.”

Across all its facilities, Salus Aviation now offers a one-stop, nose-to-tail service for the aviation industry, providing comprehensive and extensive helicopter maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) that includes service for dynamic components, gas turbines, avionics, paint, blade repair, part-out, refit and projects, component design and manufacturing.

In addition to helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft sales and leasing, the fixed-wing facilities in Nevada and Hamilton, New Zealand, offer services for avionics, paint, parts, maintenance, components, piston engines, CD-155 engine upgrades, propellers and instrument calibration.

“We have a very deeply developed capability. We have part 145 certification across many countries, along with part 146 design certification and part 148 manufacturing authority,” Edmonds said. “This allows our own in-house design team to develop modifications and new products for both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, which we take right through to STC [supplemental type certificate].”

The Salus operation at Ardmore Airport in Auckland is considered the core overhaul, maintenance and leasing providers for customers located across all six continents, providing essential services for repair, overhaul, parts supply, and engineering support.

The now combined Salus Aviation provides greater MRO services for most helicopter types — Bell, Schweizer, Robinson, MD, Kawasaki, and Airbus — along with Honeywell/Lycoming and Rolls-Royce turbine maintenance and transmission overhaul.

“We are bringing transmissions back to New Zealand for overhaul from Europe, the U.S., South America, Australia, and Africa, with Salus having a global reach in heavy overhaul,” Edmonds said. “And as we grow, we will put footprints in place on other continents for maintenance services. We currently have maintenance capability everywhere we operate and lease aircraft.”

The company’s leasing portfolio specializes in Kawasaki and Airbus BK117s, and Airbus EC130 and AS350 models, with a fleet of 45 helicopters operating in countries around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Guinea, and Peru.

Edmonds is most proud of the long-standing partnerships Salus Aviation has with the search-and-rescue (SAR) services in New Zealand.

“New Zealand’s geography and topography means that we have a high need for helicopter emergency medical services [HEMS],” Edmonds said. “The services are operated by charitable trusts, and we are fortunate to supply around 70 percent of the HEMS aircraft.”

With a fleet of Kawasaki and Airbus BK117s in HEMS service in New Zealand, Salus provides maintenance service to those aircraft seven days a week, as well as all the line and heavy maintenance.

“We’re truly entrenched in HEMS in this part of the world,” he said. “Since we lease aircraft into the HEMS environment in other countries outside of New Zealand, we can do the fitment into a HEMS configuration, and we’re also certified to repurpose helicopters from HEMS.”

Salus Aviation in the U.S. — a 30,000-square-foot (2,800-square-meter) facility in Boulder City, Nevada — is also involved in HEMS aircraft service. Previously known as the Heli-Parts Network, in addition to helicopter maintenance, the operation manages the worldwide distribution of its extensive and comprehensive part and component inventory focused on the Airbus AS350 line.

“As in New Zealand, we have project completion facilities in Nevada,” Edmonds said. “For example, with our customer, Air Methods, we take their aircraft out of the HEMS configuration at the end of their time with the operator, and we repurpose them, repaint them, and then remarket the helicopters as utility, tourism, or VIP machines.”

Globally, Salus has a team of over 260 people spread between Boulder City and in New Zealand — in Queenstown, Hamilton, and three facilities at the company’s home base at Ardmore Airfield.

The integration of the three previous operations in New Zealand and the U.S. will give Salus Aviation’s customers improved service, as Edmonds continues the work needed to bring the three companies together as one organization, with combined systems and procedures.

“We are underway with a number of changes that will make it easier for our customers and will improve service delivery, including a simplified management structure, cross-training of our engineers, and the consolidation of workshops and hangar facilities,” Edmonds said.

New Zealand may be a small country with limited resources, but it has a worldwide reputation for innovation and creativity — values that Salus Aviation will continue to emulate as it looks to expand its operations, according to Edmonds.

“Our initial growth plans will have us focusing on the United States and the North American market,” he said. “With our investment in Nevada, we are looking at significant growth in that region, and we will continue to evaluate opportunities across Africa and Asia.”

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