AgustaWestland continues to be on pace to certify its new AW189 medium-twin helicopter late this year, with the first non-test production model making its first flight on Thursday. The helicopter is slated for December delivery to oil-and-gas service operator Bristow Group. Two other AW189s are on the production line in Italy.
Helicopter operator Bristow has inked several multi-year contracts with offshore oil and gas companies. The deals involve 12 large and three medium helicopters and are expected to generate up to $850 million in revenue. Operations will take place in Europe, Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania and Mozambique. Six of the 12 large helicopters are new Sikorsky S-92s.
In the wake of a recent accident, three stakeholders in the Eurocopter Super Puma arena have rallied to support the aircraft’s safety record and image. “We do not believe that the accident was caused by an airworthiness or technical problem,” the UK CAA said in a statement.
Bristow Academy, a division of Bristow Group, has introduced into service its first four Robinson R44 training helicopters with Garmin 500H glass cockpits with dual 6.5-inch LCDs.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm headed by NetJets founder Richard Santulli, closed a new $300 million credit facility yesterday. The company will use these proceeds to acquire and lease helicopters–including Sikorsky S-92s, Eurocopter EC225s and AgustaWestland AW189s and AW139s–valued at $400 million to affiliates of Bristow Group. The credit facility is the largest ever for a helicopter lessor, the company said.
Offshore oil helicopter operator Bristow Group is retrofitting all 44 of its helicopters with Rockwell Collins Tcas II systems. Working with the avionics manufacturer, Bristow has already retrofitted the Collins TTR-4000 Tcas II system on 24 of its helicopters. Within the next year Rockwell Collins is to install its next-generation TTR-4100, which adds traffic computer capability and enables ADS-B IN applications, on 20 of Bristow’s helicopters.
Rockwell Collins has signed a series of contracts to supply the Bristow Group, SunExpress Airlines and Iberia Airlines with various avionics equipment. This includes TCAS for Bristow’s 44 Sikorsky helicopters and a package to allow the airline customers to comply with Eurocontrol’s Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) requirement.
On March 26 this year the UK’s Department for Transport announced that Bristow Helicopters (part of the U.S.-based Bristow Group) had won the contract to provide a search and rescue helicopter service for the whole of the UK. The 10-year, £1.6 billion contract will officially begin implementation in April 2015, and will be fully in place by 2017, managed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Although business has been tough for UK helicopter charter companies in recent times, Capital Air Services is in the process of increasing its managed fleet with the addition of two Sikorsky S-76++ helicopters. This will bring the S-76 fleet to three, to operate alongside a Eurocopter EC155 and a pair of EC135s.
This year’s Heli-Expo continued the show’s record run, exceeding the number of attendees at the Helicopter Association International’s annual convention for the sixth year in a row. The final numbers included 20,393 attendees, 60 helicopters and 736 exhibitors, according to HAI president Matt Zuccaro.
- Page 1