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Airborne is All About Solutions

When you walk through the front door of Airborne Energy Solutions in Whitecourt, Alberta, the smiles on the employees’ faces say it all.


July 18, 2007
By Mike Reyno

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When you walk through the front door of Airborne Energy Solutions in
Whitecourt, Alberta, the smiles on the employees’ faces say it all. And
they have many reasons to smile, as their employer keeps creating waves
in the oil-and-gas industry by developing unique heliportable energy
solutions that keep its fleet of 71 aircraft and more than 200
employees busy yearround.

You don’t need to spend much time with Airborne co-founder and
director Eric Gould, president/CEO John King and COO Tony Hunley to
understand why Airborne has been profitable for each of the 17 years
that it has been in business. They have proven that by being creative a
helicopter operator can branch out into non-traditional helicopter
markets – and succeed. They also insist that the company’s corporate
culture, which gives its employees the relative freedom to do their
jobs, is central to their success. As of this year the employees also
all get to share in a piece of the profits. This management structure
has created a culture that is unique in the helicopter industry. But
then again, Airborne is not a conventional Canadian helicopter
operator.

A tour of Airborne’s ever-expanding facilities shows a culture that
is strikingly familiar – a culture that for one successful airline has
resulted in increased product levels, greater efficiencies and higher
profits. “Our model is based on WestJet Airlines, and also on some
understanding of how Calgary-based, high-growth oil and gas companies
reward their people,” King said. “It is definitely a different culture
than people are used to seeing in the helicopter industry, and it’s not
for everyone. But for those who are interested in a long-term
commitment, we will reward them through profit sharing.”


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