Jonathan Cosson, Heli-Union Deputy Managing Director shares his personal stories and how they led him to reach the position he holds today, together with his vision of what is behind Heli-Union’s strong heritage and future.
I started to work for Heli-Union for a 6 month internship, during my final year of engineering degree in 2006. Aviation has always been my passion, hence the decision to pursue the engineering degree. During my internship in Heli-Union, I was assigned to design and develop the part 21, Certification of aircraft and related product, parts and appliances, and of design and production organisation. I managed to finish this task within 4 months. The Technical Director at the time, took me and delegated me to design the CRT software. It was a success and I even managed to get a copyright on this software. By the end of the internship, I was offered a full time employment in the Technical Quality Department and I gladly accepted it. I participated in technical audits, new procedure set ups and safety standards improvement. Not long after, Heli-Union decided to purchase 8 new S76C++ to be added on its list of helicopters. I was then appointed as the project leader of this assignment, ensuring a complete project management until their arrival to the delivery sites, such as Myanmar, Nigeria, etc. in 2010, I was promoted as the Deputy Technical Director and in charge in worldwide operations. I was one of the key managers who were responsible for the AW139 implementation project in Malaysia for Weststar Aviation. The project aimed to help Weststar implement the use of AW139 in their fleet, and to improve their aviation standards. Obviously, it was a successful project. In 2013, following the appointment of the new CEO, I was then promoted as the Technical Director until last year, where I become the Deputy Managing Director of the company. I am very grateful to be able to get involved in various projects as part of my journey with Heli-Union. The people around me have been very supportive and I cannot ask for a better experience.
GOING BEYOND THE ORDINARY…
After 11 years of experience working in this company, I have come to a conclusion on what makes a successful company. The core of success, in my point of view, is to have a team that is innovative, trustworthy, competent, reliable, and led to a right direction. I do not cease on learning to be a good manager from people around me. Having the right team for the right job is a challenge, but once the right team is assembled, I believe that we will be able to overcome any difficulties. To top on that, we constantly bring in innovative inputs from the young minds and practical wisdom from the experienced people.
Heli-Union has more than 56 years of experience in the helicopter industry. We have great arrangements with our helicopter manufacturers (known as OEM) and are able to maintain good relationships. Heli-Union has a strong service culture and all of us is committed to a high level of service performance. I believe this devotion reflects on the positive feedbacks we have been receiving from our clients.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR HELI-UNION?
The current market has been difficult, our operations decrease since the last 3 years due to the low clients’ demand. We have built a new commercial strategy to stay competitive in the market. This requires a qualified, creative and innovative team that can propose cost-effective solutions to the clients while maintaining the international standards.
To support this new strategy, we are also planning to add in new tools, software, and of course, new fleet to ensure a full development of Heli-Union. We are planning to add in super medium helicopters, which we believe will be one of the new upcoming trends for offshore transport. We are not considering any heavy types, due to its cost model, and instead, we focus on multirole helicopters with a good range and reliability program.
We have competent people in Heli-Union and internal communication is very important to ensure everyone’s involvement in all ongoing projects. Being able to communicate freely from one to another will cultivate relationships of trust which are essential to any team working toward a collective goal. Thus, we vitally address this as an important topic and ensure a well-planned communication plan. We invest in team building activities and encourage employees to contribute towards this development.
Alternative markets such as aerial firefighting, SAR and humanitarian aid operations have also become part of our development strategy. We would like to employ several of our helicopters for these new markets. These markets are not new for Heli-Union. We used to be involved in these types of operations before Heli-Union decided to concentrate on the Oil and Gas market in the year 2000. We are ready to take the step to invest in this new strategy. Thus, I believe we would be able to achieve the same recognition as we did.
I believe that the future of Heli-Union will be bright. We have built a new business model that is much appreciated by our customers. We shall continue to come up with innovative solutions and to increase internal efficiency. I visualise a future of Heli-Union where we optimise the number of helicopter types in service, with newer generations and better performance. I believe that in the future some helicopter operators will disappear. These operators try so hard to reduce their price that they are willing to reduce the safety and quality levels of their service. I am afraid by implementing this strategy, these companies are digging their own grave. Safety is one thing that we absolutely cannot disregard in this industry. Offering a fiercely competitive price without considering what they are leaving behind is a big mistake. This is not the right way to set a long term sustainability vision and we do not want to be trapped in this kind of unsustainable development strategy.
During our time, we have gone through various phases, the current market difficulty is just another rock on the road. A lot of companies are being pushed to cut costs to remain competitive. But it is assured that Heli-Union will still be able to accommodate with the market expectation by offering a cost effective, flexible and well adapted world class service without compromising our quality and safety standards. We believe in our clients and their trust in us to deliver a healthy sustainability vision and not only to focus on short term benefit.