President Obama’s 180-day moratorium on deepwater oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico is beginning to pinch helicopter operators there. The President imposed the moratorium following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20.
Bristow will build $10 million in new facilities and add 97 employees at its Florida flight school in Titusville. It will also build a new FBO facility there. Bristow operates the largest civilian helicopter school in the U.S.
Bristow Group consolidated its business units and made changes in the executive suite just weeks before posting declining net income, but modestly increasing revenues. The company said it made the changes “in an effort to improve operations and financial performance.”
Bristow Group in late September ordered three AW139s for its offshore operations. The contract also includes options for the medium twin. It brings the number of firm orders to “more than 440.” Separately, AgustaWestland has signed an agreement with maintenance specialist Heli-One to establish a repair and overhaul center in Vancouver.
Selection of a preferred bidder could emerge before the end of this year in the UK’s search-and-rescue helicopter (SAR-H) procurement process, which aims to replace the country’s existing mix of military and contractor-operated helicopters with new machines operated by a single commercial consortium under a private finance initiative (PFI) contract.
Sikorsky Global Helicopters has delivered six more S-300CBi trainers to Bristow Academy’s existing fleet of 48 of the models. The helicopters will operate at Bristow’s locations in California, Florida and Louisiana. Bristow has been operating S-300CB-series helicopters since 1995 and has more than 100 in service.
Eurocopter will break ground next month on a new helicopter service and simulator facility in Kirkhill Commercial Park near Aberdeen Airport, Scotland, a major hub for offshore oil and gas operations. Construction is to be completed by December. Knight Property Group will design and build the facility. It will consist of a 10,000-sq-ft logistics warehouse and 5,000 sq ft of offices.
Simulator manufacturer Frasca International’s current projects include two full-flight simulators for Bristow Helicopters (a Sikorsky S-92 and a Eurocopter EC 225) and three level-7 helicopter flight-training devices for FlightSafety International (an AS 350 B2, a Bell 206B/206L and a Bell 407). “The helicopter training sector has become a very important market for Frasca,” said John Frasca, vice president.
Three Eurocopter AS 322 Super Pumas, which Bristow Helicopters (Booth No. 1835) operates from Aberdeen, Scotland, to offshore installations in the North Sea, now carry TCAS II traffic collision avoidance systems, and the operator expects to similarly equip its entire Super Puma fleet by 2010. Bristow announced on Friday that it has designated the Sikorsky S-92 as its next type for TCAS II certification.
“We look forward to better days.”