The U.S. Transportation Command (USTranscom) has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new contracts for companies providing helicopter support in Afghanistan. Recipients include AAR Airlift, $151 million; Columbia Helicopters, $87 million; Construction Helicopters, $33 million; and HNZ Group, $6 million.
Private military contractors
The future of Avantair, the operator of Piaggio Avanti fractional ownership, Axis Lease and Edge Card flight access programs, was hanging in the balance at press time as the Clearwater, Fla.-based company urgently sought restructuring options following its June 26 cessation of operations.
British Defence Minister Philip Hammond published the details of his plan to appoint a commercial company to manage the UK’s defense procurement. The controversial proposal has been mooted for more than a year and is Hammond’s response to what is widely perceived to be a long history of under-performance by the 15,000-strong Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organization.
Columbia Helicopters (Booth No. 1017) announced that the Commercial Airlift Review Board (CARB) recently certified the Oregon-based company for Department of Defense (DOD) passenger and cargo operations.
With this and prior certifications, Columbia is now eligible to bid on a more comprehensive variety of contracts for heavy-lift helicopters for all U.S. government agencies.
Vector Flying Training Services, a joint company founded by Bombardier, KBR and URS to compete for a UK military training contract, has named Sir Malcolm Pledger as its new chairman. Pledger has nearly 40 years experience with the Royal Air Force, starting as a university cadet and ascending to commander in chief of the RAF Logistics Command.