Industry analysts have been declaring China the “next big market” every year since the discussion came around to business aviation in China. Now, as an economic recovery appears to have begun, it seems China is finally fulfilling its promise, and based on activity at Heli-Expo 2011 in March, the helicopter industry is poised to take advantage of demand.
British International has ambitions to introduce scheduled services in the UK within the next 10 years using the proposed Bell/Agusta BA619 tiltrotor airliner. The company’s managing director, David Hayler, told AIN “The future regional airliner is the tiltrotor,” and his 10-year vision sees use of a 19-seat stretched development of the BA609, soon to begin flight trials.
UK operator British International has been asked to take over the helicopter service between the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo. The original service by Malta Air Charter, which used two Bulgarian-registered Mil Mi-8s, closed down late last year after Malta’s May 1 entry into the European Union brought aircraft certification and operation under the new European Aviation Safety Agency.
It was bound to happen eventually. British International (BI), the company that rose from the ashes of what was once North Sea operator British International Helicopters, is back on the energy-support map. This month it will start flying Shell workers out to an economically promising but politically controversial gas field known as Corrib, 62 miles off the northwestern coast of the county of Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.