BASEL: August 14, 2018. Panalpina is celebrating 25 years of its ‘Heliship’ helicopter delivery service with the appointment of Ryan Hecht as its new head next month.

In October 1993 Panalpina launched its service by transporting three Bell 205 helicopters from Abbotsford, Canada to Rancagua, Chile. Some thousands of shipments and a quarter of a century later, the company’s global Heliship service is firmly established according to retiring head Juerg Boschung.

Panalpina Heliship 3“When I joined Panalpina the number of helicopter shipments was low, but they gained considerable attention due to their complexity, profitability and a growing market need,” he explained. “As the volumes slowly ramped-up, I was able to hire a team with experience in project forwarding, and train them on the nuances of shipping helicopters.”

Since then he said his team has approached each helicopter and shipment as a unique customer-specific solution. As a result they have been working with the same customers for over 20 years that have included delivering helicopters in support of the NATO presence in Afghanistan; supporting fire-fighting operations in Australia, Southern Europe and South America; helping UN aid missions in Africa; and transporting people and supplies to and from offshore oil rigs.

Originally based in Vancouver, Canada the company has since developed additional Heliship competence centers in the UK and Australia to help grow the business. “It has been my great honor to lead this team to create a market-leading service that was non-existent 25 years ago,” added Boschung. “But as I prepare to retire, I’m thrilled to announce that Ryan Hecht will be my successor and assume leadership of Heliship in September.”

Hecht joined Panalpina in 2008 and became part of the Heliship team in 2009. “I am excited about what’s to come for Heliship. We are expanding the team with a sales function to boost sales in the US and support the Panalpina network with operational expertise. With a market of 60,000 registered helicopters globally, Heliship’s launch into the next decade has a highly promising outlook,” he said.