As the vertical lift industry convenes in Dallas next month (February 9 to 11) for the 55th HAI Heli-Expo trade show and meeting, it is a dazed and uncertain business beset by flat markets, rising (often ruinous) insurance rates, a growing shortage of rotorcraft pilots and mechanics and a soft overall economy.
CHC Helicopter has ordered 12 Sikorsky S-92s and 13 AgustaWestland AW139s. The contracts are worth nearly $400 million. CHC plans to use the S-92s for offshore support and commercial search-and-rescue operations. Delivery of S-92s under the new order is scheduled to begin in 2009. AgustaWestland values CHC’s latest AW139 order at “approximately $140 million.” CHC plans to use the AW139s for offshore support and EMS missions.
North Sea oil and gas producers could be facing a summer of extreme discontent should a voting majority of union members at CHC Scotia have their way.
Sometimes all it takes is a reassuring voice on the radio and a heartfelt “follow me” to spell the difference between life and death in a tight aeronautical spot. That’s what happened to American long-distance ferry pilot Allen Wall, who was flying a Cessna 182 on a transatlantic ferry flight on April 27 when he reported heavy icing and fuel problems during a leg from Keflavik, Iceland, to Wick, Scotland.
CHC Helicopter is scaling back its offices in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, as part of a restructuring plan. The COO and financial staff are moving to the company’s office in Vancouver, B.C. CEO Craig Dobbin said that although the company will maintain an office in St. John’s, there will be some layoffs–but he plans to hold off on these for at least six months. Dobbin apparently considered beefing up the office in St.
The prodigal sons of the North Sea oil-support community, brothers Stephen and Peter Bond, have returned to the fray more than eight weeks early. The first operational flights by Bond Offshore Helicopters (BOH) took off last month. Managing director Geoff Williams said there are several reasons behind the move, but it was always their intention to start flying in advance of the contracted date of August 1.
A deluge of orders for new helicopters during HAI’s Heli-Expo, held in Las Vegas last month, surprised even seasoned industry watchers on the floor. By the end of the show’s second day, an estimated 110 airframes, conservatively worth $600 million, had been spoken for by domestic and international customers.
Eurocopter’s new boss believes that last year’s good sales figures should not hide
the need for some changes in the company culture. Speaking to the press in Paris
on January 21, president and CEO Fabrice Brégier, 42, said the helicopter manufacturer’s customer service still needs improvement. However, “Eurocopter is now in working order, according to the new frame I have defined,” he stated.
SkyTrac Systems yesterday announced receipt of an order for 100 shipsets (plus options) of its satellite-based SkyWeb automatic flight-following and communication equipment from Canadian Helicopters.
If helicopter sales at this year’s Heli-Expo had been any better, there might have been an executive conga line snaking its way through the exhibit floor today. Sales reported as of late yesterday had surpassed $732 million, $112 million more than at the same point in the show last year.