I am a proud man.
2023 has come and (almost) gone at terrific speed. Our year has been filled with growth and success for which we are humbly grateful, particularly when compared with other industries that are relentlessly battered by slow economic prospects. At the risk of presenting a blasé performance I modestly reminisce over an annus mirabilis that’s literally flown by:
Despite our perpetual quest to retain crew and staff, a few members have sought new pastures and elected to leave South Africa. We wish them all well and hope to see them grace our shores again in future. We have also taken on a lot of new faces that have all immediately settled into the ‘Henley Way’, which provides us with great joy and pleasure.
Our group of companies has shown exceptional growth in virtually every sphere. The beauty of contained and conservative diversification has stood our business in good stead and underscores our adverse stance on extroverted operations.
Henley Air Technical continues to churn out helicopter maintenance of the highest standard. The level of quality and pride that the entire crew consistently delivers never seizes to amaze! Thank you, Joe Bodington, and your team, for serving us unconditionally.
Under the capable guidance of Boeta Dippenaar our entire operation was subjected to a rigorous quality assurance drive which culminated in receiving Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) status in June this year. This achievement demanded an extensive review of all procedures and the accurate recordal of every function within the business. The immensity of BARS accreditation manifests in the fact that only a handful of aviation companies in South Africa hold this prestige. A special mention of Candice Teubes’ significant input is in order.
Henley Air Flight Training has experienced its best season ever. We are grateful for and excited by the number of new students that have made the decision to join our school and taste the enjoyment of flight. The first cohort of ten Tanzanian cadets successfully completed the CPL/IFR syllabus in August and have returned to their respective air force bases for deployment onto military helicopters. They have been great ambassadors for Henley Air and the South African helicopter industry, and we wish them well in their aviation careers. Our new Head of Training, Bruce Daniels needs very little introduction as he goes about continuously improving our training standards to all students.
I briefly touched on the newly established Henley Aeronautical Institute of Learning and am delighted to share that the first ten students have successfully completed their respective Higher Certificates or Diplomas in Aviation Management – congratulations to all the graduates! Lonell Coetzee has worked tirelessly to guide and mentor the fledgling students through the programmes and the reward has been sweet.
We remain awestruck by the advances that ROCKET Air Ambulance has made in 2023. Our new flight desk and administrative layout has proven to be a game changer and the natural rhythm and harmony that’s been adopted in the new facility is palpable. The enormity of a 24-hour service from three operational HEMS bases cannot be overstated and the collective buy-in from all our crews has been truly amazing. Thank you, Hendrik Louw, and the entire dedicated ROCKET team, for making us proud. The advent of a specially branded Kids’ Flight Bell 230 added a new dimension to our overall offering and has been received with great excitement by medical professionals, hospitals, and the public.
Our Drone Services business has shown exceptional growth through a rapidly expanding client-base. Nic Mason and a posse of highly motivated RPAS pilots have increased our footprint significantly across the width and breadth of South Africa.
The Charter and Vehicle Tracking operations have thankfully maintained momentum and positive advances within a highly competitive operating environment. The unpredictability of such endeavours make for exceptionally difficult crew and aircraft allocations and the teams have responded admirably. We appreciate the consistency and reliable conduct of the many pilots that service these contracts.
I extend a massive Thank You to all our hangar support staff, financial teams, flight desk agents, post-holders, and consultants. Your involvement and energies throughout the year has been motivating and highly appreciated. The team of pilots (fulltime and freelance), instructors and medical crews that unabatedly operate at the sharp end are deserving of my sincere thanks, praise, and admiration. We appreciate a year of safe flight operations under your collective watch.
I salute Boeta and Ané as the dagbestuur of Henley Air. Their drive to maintain our business at an enduring plane of Excellence, Reliability, SAFETY, Care and Sustainability remains inspirational to us all.
A sincere thank you to each and every member of the Henley Air One Team.
I am a blessed man.