The Helicopter Company and SKYTRAC Partner to Provide Aircraft Connectivity and Support for Rapidly Growing Fleet

March 9, 2023

SKYTRAC Systems Ltd. (SKYTRAC), a global leader in aerospace intelligent connectivity and satellite communications (satcom), and The Helicopter Company (THC), established by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) as the premier helicopter service provider licensed to operate commercial flights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (the Kingdom), have entered into an agreement to enable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite, 4G/LTE cellular, and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as advanced mission capabilities for their entire fleet of Airbus and Leonardo helicopters. The partnership will provide THC with a truly connected aircraft in an all-in-one platform for connectivity, communications, data-driven operational insights, engineering and client support, and pilot situational awareness.

In addition to reliable, low latency connectivity, SKYTRAC will provide THC’s fleet with mission-critical capabilities, including SkyWeb Automated Flight Following and Mission Monitoring, SAFR Flight Data Monitoring (FDM), Real-Time HUMS (RT HUMS) Alerting, Iridium Satellite Push-to-Talk (PTT) communications, voice and text messaging, as well as the SKYTRAC Inflight iOS application used by pilots to enhance cockpit situational awareness with real-time weather detection, Marine AIS, NOTAM alerts, geo-referencing capabilities, and more.

Launching services in 2019, THC was established to activate new industries in the Kingdom that support the realization of Vision 2030, a unique, transformative economic and social reform blueprint set to open Saudi Arabia up to the world. Today, THC offers aerial work for construction projects, filmography, surveying, private charters, search-and-rescue, and tourism. Additionally, THC was mandated to rapidly develop a comprehensive nationwide Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) sector within three years. The program, dubbed Saudi Air Ambulance, will operate with 23 bases, of which 13 are in progress of being established. 

SKYTRAC, operating in virtually every category of aviation, including aerial firefighting, commercial air transport, business aviation, emergency services, general aviation, law enforcement, oil and gas, scientific exploration, and unmanned aviation, was the ideal choice for THC’s varied operational requirements. 

“We selected SKYTRAC for their ability to provide in-country support, their comprehensive product and capability offerings, and ongoing commitment to innovation,” mentioned Philip Markham, Chief Technical Operations Officer, The Helicopter Company. “SKYTRAC has a long history serving numerous segments of aviation, and we believe their commitment to long-term partnerships is what sets them apart from other firms.”

A critical piece of Vision 2030, THC will be relied upon for a multitude of transformational projects requiring the highest levels of safety and operational excellence. THC will support many infrastructure projects across the Kingdom, including the Al Ula, NEOM and Red Sea regions. One such project will cover 26,500 km2 and extend 460 km along the coast of the Red Sea. The project, estimated at $500 billion and wholly owned by the PIF, will require the support of THC to charter staff, construction materials, and other resources.

THC will also support projects that set new standards in regenerative tourism and sustainable development, which will require its own dedicated airport, easily accessible year-round to visitors from around the world. Similarly, THC will support programs established to protect and safeguard the region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in North-West Saudi Arabia. 

Vision 2030’s ambitious plans undoubtedly require THC to aggressively scale, which has spurred recent orders, including 20 Airbus H145, 6 Airbus H160, and 16 Leonardo AW139 helicopters, as announced at the Helicopter Association International’s 2022 Heli-Expo. In response to these fleet expansions, SKYTRAC will establish in-country support for what will be the world’s fastest-growing multi-industry operator. 

SKYTRAC’s commitment to providing dedicated resources within the Kingdom and associated regions is part of its long-term strategy to facilitate the requirements of clientele such as THC and others in the region.

“The inclusion of SKYTRAC into the Kingdom’s aerospace operations is a testament to the capabilities of SKYTRAC’s fully integrated systems and the company’s growing reputation as a global platform for connectivity,” mentioned Jan van der Heul, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SKYTRAC. “We are honored to support THC, fleetwide, with SKYTRAC intelligent connectivity and mission capabilities.”