The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is generally seen as the next big market for the helicopter industry–OEMs, operators, training schools and maintenance operations alike. But can we expect the skies over China to be black with whirling blades any time soon?
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 16-month, $16 million (including options) contract to service new Statoil Snøehvit production platforms in the Barents Sea has been awarded to Norsk Helikopter.
Services will begin in October, with Norsk providing one de-iced Super Puma to carry passengers and a SAR-equipped Super Puma Mk 2 on 24-hour offshore search-and-rescue standby. Both helicopters will be based at Hammerfest, in northern Norway.
Bristow Helicopters has ordered two Eurocopter EC 225s, with a scheduled service entry of spring next year. The order for this latest addition to the Super Puma family is valued at approximately E32 million ($40.3 million), and Bristow has options on an additional two aircraft.
Chinese operator COHC has ordered two Eurocopter AS 332L1 Super Pumas, with an option to acquire one EC 225 and an EC 155 B1. The order is worth $24.3 million (E24.7 million).
A Eurocopter Super Puma crashed in the South China Sea, 103 miles off the Malaysian coast, on November 5, Malaysian national news agency Bernama reported last month. The aircraft was operated by Malaysian Helicopter Services Aviation and chartered by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production, which subsequently stopped chartering the type in Malaysia.
Protecting aircraft and their crews from ground fire has long been a specialty of Plasan Sasa, which also offers ballistic armored solutions for personnel, vehicles and vessels. One of Plasan’s latest programs involved the provision of full protection from nose to tail for Boeing Chinook helicopters operated by a NATO country, but it also can supply kits to protect all types of tactical transport, assault and cargo helicopters.
The cabin space of the Eurocopter Super Puma can be retained even when two .5-inch caliber machine guns have been installed by ST Aerospace. This is evident from the display in the company’s pavilion at the entrance to Hall A where a Eurocopter Super Puma displays not only a single gun installation, but also a forward-looking infrared pod that can be semi retracted when the helicopter is on the ground.
Citic Offshore Helicopter Co. Ltd. (COHC), the largest helicopter operator in Asia, and Eurocopter announced here in Farnborough the signing of a contract for two EC 225 helicopters.
Canadian Helicopter (CHC) has won a new five-year contract, and possible extensions, to support Nexen Petroleum UK’s central and northern North Sea operations.
The service, which includes servicing the Buzzard field’s hookup and commissioning, will involve a dedicated Super Puma AS 332L, with additional flight hours by the CHC pool of AS 332Ls. It represents new work for CHC and is scheduled to start next month.