Supporting African Operators with New In-region Services

By Pratt & Whitney Customer Service

P&WC is taking the lead in supporting African operators with initiatives such as in-region rental engine support. Read about this and other maintenance solutions tailored to this growing aviation industry.

Stronger Presence Enables Better Support

As the aviation sector expands across Africa, P&WC is enhancing the support it provides to the continent's operators. Having opened four strategically located mobile repair team (MRT) bases last year, the company is now taking more steps to get closer to operators and help keep their aircraft flying, whether they're transporting passengers, bringing tourists to safari destinations or delivering food or humanitarian services in remote areas. P&WC has a major role to play by adapting its approach to the characteristics of the African market.

One of the challenges for African operators, as Ismael Rhissa Zakary, Director, Aftermarket Services, P&WC Customer Service Centre Europe, explained to Airtime, is access to assets such as rental engines and replacement parts from North America or Europe.

“Every day, operators are dealing with logistical challenges when shipping engines in and out of the region. It takes time to order the engine from abroad, bring it through customs, clear it, then send it back once it’s no longer needed. And if the rental engine doesn’t arrive on time, the operator will experience operational disruption and loss of revenue,” says Ismael.

Providing In-region Rental

To overcome these challenges and further support operators, P&WC is building a series of regional solutions. For example, it is looking into launching a new subscriber-based engine program whereby it will establish a pool of rental engines in key locations in Africa, starting with Nairobi's busy Wilson Airport. Operators who subscribe to this program will benefit from simple, cost-effective access to a locally available replacement engine whenever they need to send an engine to the shop for scheduled or unscheduled maintenance. They can lease it for as long as they need to maintain the availability of their aircraft.

"OEMs have a major role to play to support aviation growth in Africa. P&WC is at the forefront. Our objective is to keep people flying. Our new services being rolled-out are aimed at reducing aircraft on ground time and ensuring the least disruption possible to our customers’ operations."


The first initiative of its kind launched by P&WC, the in-region pooling program will be supporting operators of PT6A-114A and PW150A engines. The former powers the Cessna Caravan, a general aviation workhorse widely used across the continent due to its versatility. The latter powers the Q400 regional turboprop, which is enjoying tremendous growth in Africa thanks to its range and its short takeoff and landing capabilities.

Connecting with Customers and Tailoring Services

Thanks to the four MRT bases now operational in the region, it's easier for P&WC to communicate with African operators face to face. There are some 3,000 in-service P&WC engines across the continent, and in the past year, P&WC personnel visits to operators of these engines have risen three-fold, including over a hundred MRT interventions.


As Ismael explains, P&WC is using these opportunities to get a better sense of what operators are looking for and what the company can do to better support their needs. Along with the rental engine pool, P&WC is reviewing its support for spare parts in Africa and developing other initiatives such as mission-ready services for helicopters that transport heads of state and other VIPs.

"We’re in Africa for the long haul. The first step was to increase our presence there, which we achieved with the MRT bases. The idea now is to get closer to our customer base and deliver customized engine OEM services and solutions that cover both on-wing and off-wing support."


Powering over 75 percent of fixed-wing aircraft used in humanitarian aviation, P&WC is also collaborating with the United Nations World Food Programme to support operators who make it possible to deliver food and humanitarian services to remote areas. This type of collaboration provides P&WC with an in depth understanding of operators' requirements. 

Check out our recent story about the CFirst Centre in Singapore for another example of how having a local presence allows P&WC to provide faster, more personalized support.