New AgustaWestland Helicopter to be used for North Sea Ops

Helicopter operator Bristow Helicopters reported Tuesday that it will be the first helicopter operator to introduce the new AgustaWestland AW189 helicopter when it begins services using the aircraft in early 2014.

Bristow said that it has six AW189s on order for North Sea oil and gas operations. Last week, the firm showcased the aircraft to a number of clients at Norwich International Airport on England's east coast.

The twin engine, eight-ton AW189 is specified to carry a full load of 16 passengers out to 140 nautical miles, which Bristow said makes it ideal for offshore operations in the North Sea.

Bristow Helicopters CEO Mike Imlach commented in a company statement:

"Bristow has a long and productive relationship with AgustaWestland and we are honored to be the launch customer for the AW189. It is a superb aircraft which will fill a gap between the medium and heavy helicopter markets. Once in operation it will be of the highest technical specification, meet all the latest safety requirements and will enable us to offer our clients state-of-the-art capabilities.

"We expect to be able to offer the model to our clients in Q1 of 2014 once the relevant certifications have been obtained and training completed. We will also be installing our own AW189 flight simulator at our Dyce training base in early 2015 so that we can train our pilots in house."

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