Avionics News May 2012 - 26
ABOVE: A Safair Hercules L382G is photographed on the tarmac after transporting researchers and scientific equipment to Antarctica. RIGHT: In 2008, the South Africa-based company airlifted five two-ton black rhinos across Africa to Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park.
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you can see trends coming together where you can identify which parts are more susceptible to damage than others. Knowing this information helps us have the spare parts available at the required bases of operations or have quick time access to such parts at our spares providers’ facilities throughout the world.” In addition to experienced employees, Safair relies on technology to keep the business operating smoothly. Investing in information and communication technology intended to lower costs and improve efficiency is one of the company’s immediate priorities. “Over the past couple of years, Safair Operations has invested a significant amount of time, energy and money in developing its information technology infrastucture to become more efficient in its day-to-day business operations and improve customer services,” Andrew said. “We are currently in the process of upgrading our in-house hardware systems, and we have just completed the upgrade to new servers, which have come equipped with a new 40-gate firewall system. Our offices in Johannesburg use wireless technology, and we are still exploring cost-efficient ways of upgrading our technological and communications infrastructure in more remote areas of the world, such as Kandahar in Afghanistan.” Software programs, such as SAM, CMS and the ASL Group’s company-wide ACCLAIM system, have helped Safair in managing logistics, sourcing and deploying spare parts, keeping track of operational bases throughout Africa and the Middle East, as well as managing additional assets, such as engines and landing gear systems.
“Such systems have not only simplified certain aspects of the business, but also allowed us to become a lot more environmentally friendly by significantly reducing the amount of paper that was once used throughout the organization,” said Andrew, who mentioned that Safair is also analyzing the possibility of equipping its pilots with electronic flight manuals. Weathering the Storm As a niche operator, Safair is one of the few companies that has faired well during the rocky economy, and with good reason. “Due to the nature of our business and the fact that we operate in a more specialized area of the aviation market with far fewer competitors than the more mainstream scheduled cargo and passenger markets, we have been fortunate to not endure some of the problems that the current economic conditions have placed on other operators in the more traditional or commercial sides of the aviation market,” Andrew said. “All in all, the company as a whole had a successful year last year with the only impact on the business being currency exchange fluctuations, which are beyond our control.” In good economic times and in bad, whether it’s working with the United Nations to airdrop food and medicine into Sudan for impoverished families, relocating an endangered species into the African bush or transporting troops within wartorn countries, Safair fills the gap, doing whatever is needed under extraordinary circumstances. q