Bristow Helicopters Invests More Than UK70 Million in N. Sea

Bristow Helicopters has announced an investment of over a UK70 million in the North Sea energy industry after officially unveiling six new helicopters.

The six state-of-the-art Sikorsky S-92 aircraft will service offshore installations out of Scatsta Airport in Shetland and underline Bristow's commitment to the oil and gas sector.

Alan Grant, head of commercial at Bristow's European Business Operations Unit in Aberdeen, said: "Once again this significant investment shows our commitment to the North Sea.

"We will continue to invest as part of our company's continuing drive to enhance the safety of the many thousands of passengers we transport offshore each year in support of the oil and gas industry."

"A lot of hard work by Bristow staff has gone into making all this possible and we are very excited about the arrival of all the S-92s."

The new fleet replaced Tiger helicopters at Scatsta and increases Bristow's passenger capacity. All six helicopters are operational. The company's multi-million pound outlay includes the helicopters, training, tools and equipment.

Bristow's Gary Munday, one of two chief pilots in Scatsta, said: "The S-92 is highly automated and required the learning of new techniques. The passengers really like it."

The S-92 fleet will support the Integrated Aviation Consortium (IAC). The IAC partners are Shell, BP, CNR, BP (Sullom Voe Terminal) and Petrofac, who together contract with Bristow Helicopters to deliver aviation logistics in the northern North Sea sector.

The six helicopters will make 75 trips in total each week. Passengers will be introduced to an aircraft that combines exceptional safety and performance features in the S-92.

The 'stand-up' cabin ceiling height of 1.83m (6ft) and the increased baggage capacity will benefit client and passenger. There is also a touch of luxury with separate heating and vent systems providing passengers with fresh air from above while keeping their feet warm.

The cockpit is equipped with electronic multi-function LCD displays and the large front and side windows provide enhanced views for the flight crew. The helicopter is 20.88m long, 3.89m wide and 4.71m high.

The arrival of the helicopters is yet another milestone for Bristow, the world's leading provider of helicopter services. It was the first company to carry out an offshore crew change more than 40 years ago when Captain Ernie Perrin piloted another Sikorsky aircraft, the S-55 Whirlwind, from Dyce to a drill ship in the Moray Firth.

Since then Bristow has carried more than 50 million passengers. Helicopters are the workhorses of the offshore industry and the Dyce heliport is the busiest in Europe with around 40,000 flights taking off and nearly 500,000 passengers transported each year.

Bristow Helicopters was founded in 1953 by Royal Navy pilot Alan Bristow. Since its first missions -- whale-spotting for commercial whaling boats -- the pioneering company has grown to become a global leader in servicing the energy sector.