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.
After a year in which only 29 EC 225 Super Pumas were sold, industry leader Eurocopter announced yesterday two separate deals for the helicopter, totaling 19 aircraft in all with an option for an additional eight. CHC Helicopter Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia, ordered 16, while the Bristow Group of Houston bought three and took options for eight more.
Jet-Care International of Cedar Knolls, N.J., and its sister company Spectro of the UK and Switzerland, have won multi-year contracts to analyze engine oil and debris. The companies are exhibiting in Heli-Expo Booth No. 709.
The industry gears up for its annual group hug, this year back in Las Vegas (March 15 to 17) against a backdrop of decent sales figures for new civil helicopters over the past year and a forecast of modest growth over the next eight. According to Bill Dane, senior analyst at Forecast International, between 2003 and 2012 projected deliveries are 9,500 helicopters valued at $19 billion.
CHC Helicopter of St. John’s, Newfoundland, last month signed a letter of intent to buy Schreiner Aviation Group in the Netherlands. CHC expects to complete confirmatory due diligence and negotiate final agreements, subject to regulatory approval, for a closing by the end of this month. Schreiner operates 33 helicopters and 17 airplanes, providing air services primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry in Europe, Africa and Asia.
A Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin, operated by CHC Scotia, crashed on December 27 near an oil rig in the East Irish Sea. None of the two crew or five passengers survived; one body is missing. The 20-year-old airframe had not been recovered at press time. The accident took place at about 6:35 p.m. local time, some 1,500 feet from the North Morecambe platform, on a flight from the Millom West platform.