Helicopter manufacturers are expected to deliver 4,800 to 5,500 new turbine-powered civilian models in the next five years, Honeywell predicts in its annual market forecast. “What the operators told us was that for the most part, far more operators plan on increasing their flight activity than those who reported they were going to cut back on flight operations,” Charles Park, Honeywell’s market analyst, told AIN. “The actual usage of the platforms should increase as well.”
Helicopter manufacturers will deliver between 4,800 and 5,500 new turbine-powered civilian models in the next five years, Honeywell (Booth No. 6502) predicts in its annual market forecast.
AgustaWestland gained EASA approval for its new AW189 medium-twin helicopter on February 7. The company said that delivery of the first two AW189s in offshore configuration to Bristow Group is “imminent.”
More than 100 AW189s are on order. To date, Bristow has placed a firm order for 11 AW189s for use on a UK search-and-rescue contract and for offshore operations. Other large fleet customers include Gulf Helicopters and Era, with 15 orders each.
William Chiles, who has led global offshore helicopter services company Bristow Group for the last decade, will retire effective July 31 and be replaced by current CFO Jonathan Baliff. Chiles will remain as a consultant to the company through 2016. During Chiles’s tenure, Bristow grew rapidly and posted record profits. Baliff, who held senior positions at NRG Energy and Credit Suisse before joining Bristow in 2010, is a former USAF pilot with degrees in aerospace engineering and international relations.
In 2009 offshore-energy helicopter operator Bristow Group bought 42.5 percent of Brazil’s Lider Aviação Holding for $174 million. “Bristow is happy with its investment in Lider,” Bristow executive vice president Mark Duncan recently told AIN. “It was a bold and strategic move and it was the right move.”
The rarefied deepwater oil and gas market has spawned new players and big deals in the helicopter operating leasing market, but to date these transactions have largely been confined to medium and large helicopters. What will be the impact of leasing on the industry as a whole, especially for smaller operators with light helicopters in the non-oil-and-gas segments, and will it ever become as predominant as it is for airlines, where approximately one-third of the fleet is leased?
Sikorsky announced yesterday that it delivered the first two examples of the S-76D, an upgraded version of the medium twin helicopter, to the Bristow Group late last month. The helicopters are equipped for offshore oil and gas operations, a configuration certified by the FAA in October 2012, and are to fly in the Gulf of Mexico.
A UK inquiry into the April 2009 fatal crash of a Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma in the North Sea begins today in Aberdeen, Scotland. Operated by Bond Helicopters, the rotorcraft suffered a main rotor gearbox failure and crashed into the sea off the Aberdeenshire coast while returning from an oil platform. The accident killed the two pilots and all 14 passengers aboard.
Bell Helicopter will build its new short light single (SLS) helicopter at Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana, the company announced last month.
Raising commonality in the way different companies operate the same helicopter type will be among the subjects of the safety review launched by North Sea operators Bristow, Avincis and CHC.