This year’s Heli-Expo continued the show’s record run, exceeding the number of attendees at the Helicopter Association International’s annual convention for the sixth year in a row. The final numbers included 20,393 attendees, 60 helicopters and 736 exhibitors, according to HAI president Matt Zuccaro.
UK-based Bristow Helicopters, an affiliate of the Texas-based Bristow Group, today announced a 10-year contract with the UK’s Department for Transport for search-and-rescue (SAR) services for all of the country. The $2.5 billion agreement has a phased-in transition period beginning in April 2015 and continuing until July 2017.
Under the contract, Bristow will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92s and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 medium-twin helicopters across 10 UK bases. Each SAR base will operate either two S-92s or two AW189s. In addition, there will be two training aircraft.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) says it’s time to develop a team focused solely on helicopter safety in the U.S. The new team will be co-chaired by the Bristow Group’s Bill Chiles, representing industry, while James Viola from the FAA’s Flight Standards Division heads the government contingent. Even though the number of civil helicopter accidents has declined over the past six years, that decline has recently leveled off.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS) announced Wednesday at Heli-Expo ’13 the signing of a 10-year Total Assurance Program (TAP) agreement to support the S-92 fleet operated by Bristow Group. Valued at more than $840 million, the renewal was signed late last year following expiration of a prior seven-year support contract. Sikorsky offers TAP maintenance support to commercial and military operators of the S-76, S-92 and S-70 worldwide, with the program covering up to 98 percent of the cost of parts replacement on the airframe, drive train, gearboxes, avionics and consumable items.
With the new S-76D leading the way, Sikorsky is looking forward to a healthy market for its commercial helicopter division.
According to S-76 program manager Leon Silva, the S-76D is built on “a timeless design” represented by more than 700 S-76 models flying in 46 countries. While the S-76 corporate/VIP fleet has logged a total of 642,000 flight hours, that number barely registers in comparison to the 4.07 million flight hours accumulated in support of offshore oil production.
Offshore-energy helicopter service operator Bristow Group reported increases in revenue and net income for the fourth quarter of last year. Compared with the same period in 2011, operating revenue increased by 17 percent, to $346.7 million, and adjusted net income grew to $42.6 million, a $14.8 million jump from the comparable 2011 period.
Bristow Group posted strong financial results for the nine months ending Dec. 31, 2012, reporting net income of $90 million on $993 million in revenues. Revenues for the quarter ending the year were $346.7 million, a 17-percent increase from the same period one year ago.
Bristow, which provides helicopter services to the oil-and-gas industry worldwide, attributed its improved quarterly results to increases in revenues in Canada, Europe, Australia, West Africa and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Bristow Helicopters, the largest global helicopter provider, is set to become the U.S. launch customer for the not-yet-certified Eurocopter EC175. Representatives of the operator and manufacturer are expected to sign the purchase agreement at Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo booth (No. C2922) at 3 p.m. this afternoon, here in Las Vegas.
Global demand for helicopters is expected to increase over the next five years, according to the results of Honeywell’s Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook survey, released here at Heli-Expo ‘13. Deliveries of new civilian-use helicopters will total between 4,900 and 5,600 units during 2013-2017 according to the survey, with strong demand focused in the first three years of the period and reflected in every region of the world. This is 35 percent higher for this three-year period than was recorded in last year’s survey.
Eurocopter anticipates that a solution to the main gearbox problem that has grounded the North Sea fleet of EC225s will be available next month. Offshore operators, especially those in the North Sea, have seen major disruption of their activities, as have the oil and gas companies that depend on helicopter transportation for crew changes on their platforms.