Vector Aerospace Corporation was created in 1998 through an initial public offering (IPO), and quickly established itself as a significant player in the global aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services industry.
Vector Aerospace's heritage spans back to the 1940s and 1950s. The company’s North American roots lie in Okanagan Helicopters, which was formed in British Columbia, Canada, in 1947, and which would ultimately become CHC Helicopters 40 years later. Although initially focused on supporting its own aircraft only, over time the company expanded into providing MRO services for international rotary- and fixed-wing operators, and in 1990 CHC refocused its MRO business to form ACRO Aerospace.
In April 1998, CHC transferred its repair and overhaul (RNO) business – consisting of ACRO Aerospace, Atlantic Turbines Inc (formed in 1992 and located on Prince Edward Island, Canada) and Sigma Aerospace (created through the March 1998 acquisition of Hunting Airmotive, based in Croydon, UK) – into a new wholly owned subsidiary called Vector Aerospace Corporation, before selling 80% of its holding in Vector Aerospace through an IPO in June of that year. CHC initially retained a 20% stake in Vector Aerospace, but divested this holding the following year.
In 1999, Vector Aerospace acquired Washington-based helicopter and turboshaft repair and overhaul company Helipro, along with Californian APU and avionics repair and overhaul provider Tower Aviation Services, which was renamed Alameda Aerospace. Helipro was merged with ACRO Aerospace in 2004, leading to the creation of ACROHelipro Global Services.
2000 saw the creation of Pathix as a stand-alone profit center, following the commercialization of Vector Aerospace’s IT group. This move opened the way for Pathix to offer its proprietary software packages to third-party customers, and to expand its own partnership agreements.
The company consolidated two of its U.S. branches to a new location in Andalusia, Alabama, in 2002, in order to support military operators in the region. The Andalusia facility is strategically located near to the Fort Rucker and the Whiting Field military bases, supporting the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy as well as the Department of State. A new, larger facility was opened in Andalusia in 2008 in order to accommodate the workload there, with a further expansion taking place in 2013.
In 2008, Vector Aerospace acquired the UK MoD’s Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) Rotary Wing and Components Businesses, located in Fleetlands, England and Almondbank, Scotland. This acquisition significantly reinforced Vector Aerospace’s presence in the military MRO market, adding to the company’s existing support of the UK MoD through Sigma’s support of VC10 (Conway) and C-130 (T56) powerplants, the latter subsequently being transferred to Fleetlands.
The Fleetlands site itself has a heritage going back to 1940, when it was first created as the Royal Naval Air Yard to provider repair and overhaul services for naval fixed-wing aircraft. Fleetlands would later take on rotary-wing repair and overhaul as helicopters entered the Navy’s inventory, and following the creation of DARA in 1999, the site became DARA Fleetlands. The Almondbank site, close to Perth, has a similarly long and rich history, being founded as Royal Navy Aircraft Workshop Almondbank in 1945, and eventually becoming part of DARA.
2008 also saw Vector Aerospace unify its operational divisions under the Vector Aerospace brand, helping ensure the consistent delivery of its industry-leading services to its rotary- and fixed-wing customers around the globe.
A third development in 2008 was the opening of a local engine service center in Nairobi, Kenya. This investment reflected Vector Aerospace’s commitment to its international customers, and to small/medium-sized operators as well as large fleet customers.
In 2009, Vector Aerospace acquired Pratt & Whitney Canada’s MRO unit in Lanseria, South Africa, a year after opening a local engine service center there. As well as strengthening the company’s presence in Africa, this facility – originally established in 1996 and formally reopened in November 2010 – also added valuable capacity to Vector Aerospace’s engine business.
In June 2011, Vector Aerospace was acquired by Eurocopter Holdings, the holding entity of the Eurocopter Group and a subsidiary of global aerospace and defense giant EADS. This tie-up with Eurocopter provides Vector Aerospace with unique opportunities for the development of new markets, new products and joint synergies. At the same time, Eurocopter (since renamed as Airbus Helicopters) has been careful to allow Vector Aerospace to retain a high level of autonomy – as indicated by the retention of the Vector Aerospace brand name – thus protecting the company's reputation for responsiveness and avoiding any conflicts with its other OEM partners.
Following Eurocopter’s acquisition of Vector Aerospace, EADS made the decision to transfer its engine MRO holding SECA to Vector Aerospace, in order to realize the synergies between the two companies. SECA, located close to Le Bourget Airport on the outskirts of Paris, France, was founded in 1946, since when the company – renamed as Vector Aerospace - France in 2015 – has become well-known for its support of Pratt & Whitney Canada engines.
In 2012, Vector Aerospace acquired Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6A engine repair and overhaul facility in Brisbane, Australia, the location – originally established in 1986 and formally reopened in March 2013 – being appointed as a Designated Overhaul Facility (DOF) for the PT6A.
2015 witnessed the opening of Vector Aerospace Asia in Singapore, this state-of-the-art, 5,200 m2 facility initially being focused on supporting the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprop engine as a P&WC authorized Designated Overhaul Facility (DOF).
Vector Aerospace continues to build on its proud history of superior customer service and diverse, expert technical capability as it moves forward as dynamic company focused on delivering the highest standards of quality workmanship and customer service.