Eurocopter officially opened its new North Sea Service Centre today in Aberdeen, on the northeast coast of Scotland. The facility provides maintenance, repair and overhaul support for Eurocopter helicopters operating in the oil and gas fields of the North Sea. It also has a pilot training center, which features a full-flight simulator for the Eurocopter EC225. During the opening ceremony, the manufacturer signed a training contract with CHC Helicopter that calls for at least 800 hours in the EC225 simulator each year. The operator will send pilots from its worldwide operations to train in Aberdeen. Eurocopter will be adding a second simulator for its new EC175. Aberdeen is Europe’s busiest heliport and is a hub for some 100 Eurocopter rotorcraft operating in the North Sea and for several hundred pilots who fly them. North Sea helicopter operations account for approximately 100,000 flight hours annually and exploration and production activity is due to increase this year and into 2012. Eurocopter has invested almost $16 million in the new facility, which is run by its Eurocopter UK subsidiary with some 20 staff. The company said that it will push ahead with providing new simulator training centers in Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore and China this year.