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Friday, June 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: MD: "We’re Exceeding Expectations"

COMMERCIAL

MD Helicopters’ head, Lynn Tilton, is decrying "an industry rumor mill that works overtime to turn positives into negatives."

In one of MD’s latest public statements, the Mesa, Ariz. manufacturer on May 2 issued a press release quoting Tilton as saying MD has achieved its primary goal of "bringing back an American legacy." The New York distressed-debt management firm Tilton controls, Patriarch Partners, bought control of MD two years ago come July. "Today, MD is a strong, viable company with a core of world-class operational talent, and a product line that customers love," she said in the press release.

Tilton said MD has delivered 10 aircraft to date this year and expects to deliver 33 more by year’s end. Its new airframe production facility in Monterrey, Mexico should deliver 23 fuselages to Mesa this year, she said.

Tilton also claimed MD’s process for supporting aircraft grounded by maintenance or parts problems "continues to improve dramatically." Aircraft-on-ground (AOG) calls are processed within 4 hr, she said, and 61 percent of requirements are filled in 24 hr. More than 75 percent are filled within four days.

Nonetheless, she said, "our quiet focus on the execution of strategies has unfortunately been twisted into hidden problems." She said, for the second time this year, that the company is not for sale. (We hadn’t heard any fresh rumors that it was.)

Several weeks before HAI’s Heli-Expo opened in late February, she said she was "very, very happy" with her senior team. Within a month, much of that team was gone.

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