Statoil Adopts Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter
Statoil's offshore personnel will enjoy safer and more comfortable helicopter flights after the group has become one of the world's first oil companies to adopt the Sikorsky S-92. Two of these machines will come into service for Statoil on January 1, 2005 at Bergen's Flesland heliport under a renewed five-year contract worth NOK 630 million with Norsk Helikopter. The introduction of the S-92 forms part of the group's commitment to greater safety, and is in line with an official Norwegian government report on safer offshore helicopters.
Sikorsky's new machine builds on technology which has been tested in such applications as the military Black Hawk helicopter. The US manufacturer's plant has built five S-92 prototypes and subjected them to an extensive testing program over a number of years. "Passengers will see a clear improvement in comfort, with less noise and more space," says Thormod Hope, Statoil's vice president for emergency response, maritime operations and air transport. "In addition, the new helicopters will provide easier working conditions for baggage handlers. That also makes them a good investment in a better working environment." The two S-92s will have an annual capacity of 20,000 passengers. That corresponds to the bulk of Statoil's needs for transport between Flesland and Norwegian offshore installations.
Each of the American-built helicopters can carry 19 passengers, which compares with 18 under optimal conditions for today's Super Pumas. "The S-92 can also undertake more flights every day because it's much faster," explains Mr. Hope.
"That'll make it more cost-effective. We expect to improve seat occupancy by 34 percent over a year."