There isn’t one manufacturer that doesn’t quietly salivate at the mention of the Latin American appetite for helicopters and the growth of that market. According to Honeywell’s 15th Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook, the appetite for helicopters in Latin America suggests a 34-percent sales spike over the next half-decade.
Airports, Heliports and FBOs » Heliports
New developments at heliports including regulations and noise issues; legal disputes; openings, and acquisitions.
Runway 16R/34L, the primary runway at Van Nuys Airport in southern California, is closed until July 26 at 11:59 p.m. The closure is part of a $20.5 million improvement program, which includes asphalt milling and paving of more than 4,000 feet of the center section of the runway. Runway 16L/34R (4,000 feet long) remains open as normal (closing at night from 10:45 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Pilots are urged to check notams before flying to Van Nuys. The runway improvement project will be completed in August.
Work is scheduled to begin this summer on a $13 million Chicago vertiport, more than 20 years after it was first proposed. The near west side, 10-acre site at 14th & Wood is owned by the Illinois Medical District Commission (IMD) and will be financed privately and developed by Nighthawk Services.
Nighthawk president Mike Conklin told AIN that he expects final approvals within weeks and groundbreaking in “late July or early August.” Construction will take approximately 12 months.
Lyon Bron Airport in southeast France (Booth 664), some 70 miles southwest of Geneva, enjoyed 7.5-percent growth in business aviation traffic during the first three months of this year. This came on the heels of 7.5-percent growth for the whole of last year–to 6,359 aircraft movements–ranking Lyon Bron the third busiest French airport for business aviation. The growing roster of new operators at the field and planned construction are giving the local officials cause for continued optimism.
The Middle East presents plenty of opportunity for business aviation growth, and at last month’s Abu Dhabi Air Expo businesses reported that their investment in the region–and beyond–is paying dividends.
The UK’s National Grid Electricity Transmission recently took delivery of a Bell 429 that it will use for inspection and maintenance of power lines. It is equipped with an operator workstation in the cabin featuring the SyQuest 20-inch HD display, MX-10 control unit, HD Nano Flash recorder, USB hub ports and a keyboard.
Erickson Air-Crane has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to acquire 14 helicopters and associated personnel and assets from HRT Participacoes em Petroleo (HRT). The deal requires Erickson Air-Crane to provide operational services, including both cargo and passenger transport, to HRT in the Amazon under a three-year renewable contract. Erickson traditionally had focused its efforts on building, selling, servicing and operating heavy-lift S-64 Aircranes. Erickson CEO Udo Rieder said the agreement provides “an excellent path to diversification and growth.”
England and Wales have begun consolidating local police air assets into the new National Police Air Service (NPAS) to provide a national, borderless service making use of the nearest aircraft. The 24-hour air service will operate 28 aircraft from 23 locations and be able to reach “98 percent of the population of England and Wales within 20 minutes.” The British government hopes the NPAS program will save up to £15 million ($24 million) a year. The service is being implemented regionally, and the consolidation is expected to be complete by January 2015.
AgustaWestland’s new eight-ton medium-heavy twin recently completed high/hot testing in Arizona, Colorado and Texas and now heads north. The company expects certification in this year’s second half. AgustaWestland has logged orders for approximately 60 of the new helicopters, primarily from the oil and gas market.
Australian operator Newcastle Helicopters has plans to launch a floating heliport in Sydney’s harbor in the middle of this year. The powered, flat-top vessel will feature two helipad sites, aircraft storage, refueling facilities and meeting rooms.