bell celebrates 30th anniversary in southern africa

June 5, 2019

This year marks a special anniversary for both Bell and Bell Independent Representative, National Airways Corporation (NAC). Thirty years ago, in 1989, they teamed up to offer helicopter solutions to go above and beyond flight in the southern part of Africa.

One of the most prominent markets on the African continent is South Africa. With 225 Bell aircraft in operation in the country alone, the demand for vertical lift solutions has been high, particularly for light single-engine aircraft. This success is due to the outstanding collaboration between Bell and NAC and the combination of advanced vertical lift aircraft with award winning local support, training and expertise.

Established in 1946, NAC offers a full range of aviation products and services, including new and pre-owned sales, maintenance, parts, charter flights, international operations, air ambulance services, aircraft leasing and pilot, technical and air traffic control training. NAC is based at Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg and operates a South African network.


Left to right: Sameer Rehman – Bell Managing Director, Gary Phillips – NAC Executive Director, Martin Banner – CEO NAC, Patrick Moulay – Bell SVP Commercial Business.

Since 1989, they have achieved many milestones, including:

1989 – NAC becomes Bell, Independent Representative

1993 – First Bell 230 delivered to Amplats

1997 – Bell 430 delivery to Amplats

1996 – Bell 407 enters southern African market

2016 – Corporate customer purchases first Bell 429 at AAD airshow

2018 – First Bell 505 delivery into southern Africa. 

2018 – NAC celebrates grand opening of new state-of-the-art Heliport facility

2019 – NAC Helicopter Operations supports anti-poaching efforts with a Bell 407 in Chinko, Central African Republic

During a private ceremony, they celebrated Bell’s past, present and future in southern Africa.

“At NAC, we pride ourselves on the long-term relationships we build with partners, suppliers and customers. Our partnership with Bell is one of which we are extremely proud and we are thrilled to have maintained great momentum for the brand over three decades. With Bell’s market leading product range, we will continue to grow their share even further, backing it up with world class support through our Bell Customer Service Facility at Rand Airport. We look forward to another 30 years of success together,” said Martin Banner, chief executive officer, National Airways Corporation.

Sameer Rehman, managing director for Africa and the Middle East, commented: “We are very pleased to be celebrating this major milestone at NAC’s new heliport facility located in Midrand. There is immense potential in Africa and it’s with great allies like NAC, that we will continue to bring advanced technologies that will truly make a difference to the continent and its people.”

With new commercial aircraft entering the market such the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X and the Bell 525, there are exciting times ahead for operators in Africa.