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Offshore support operators plan for long-term helicopter renewals
Bristow Group has signed a contract for six AW189 helicopters plus options for more, all to be used to perform offshore transport missions. It is the first order for the type from a large fleet operator.

Bristow Group has signed a contract for six AW189 helicopters plus options for more, all to be used to perform offshore transport missions. It is the first order for the type from a large fleet operator.

"We are excited by the capabilities offered by the new AW189 and we see it filling a key position within our global fleet, particularly given the planned retirement of the AS332 Super Puma over the next few years and the continuing growth of deep-water developments in our key future markets," says Mark Duncan, svp commercial for Bristow.

The AW189 was launched this year in response to the growing market demand for a versatile, affordable, multirole helicopter in the eight-tonne class. Set to enter service in early 2014, it is optimised for long range offshore transport and SAR missions. The cabin is configured with 16 seats as standard with the option for a high density 18-seat layout or an ultra long range 12-seat configuration. The cockpit design, incorporating the latest in advanced situational awareness technologies, is intended to reduce crew workload and enhance safety.

Meanwhile, CHC Helicopter has opted to increase its fleet of EC225 Super Pumas by placing an order for a further 20 of the type and an option for an additional four.

Deliveries will occur during the next four-plus years, into 2016. According to CHC, the helicopters will be needed to accommodate anticipated growth from both current and future customers. The aircraft are expected to be deployed to serve oil and gas customers in the UK, Norway, Australia and Brazil.

"We are extremely optimistic about the future of this industry and CHC's place in it," says president and ceo William Amelio. "The EC225 is an excellent aircraft for extending CHC's global reach, responsiveness and leadership in safety – qualities that enable us to provide great value to our customers."

Amelio adds that the EC225 has a "well-deserved reputation for high reliability in the most demanding operational conditions."

CHC is the largest operator of the Super Puma family helicopters in the world, including the most extensive fleet of the EC225 version. By 2016, CHC could have as many as 50 EC225s in operation on behalf of its customers.

"The EC225's success story could not have been written without CHC, and it is an honour for Eurocopter to have CHC as the EC225's flagship operator throughout the world," says Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter's president and ceo.

The EC225 is adapted to missions in severe weather, with system redundancy, a highly capable automatic flight control system and the capability for full deicing – which allows flight in all known icing conditions. When configured for offshore crew change operations in support of oil and gas producers, the EC225 can be rapidly converted for search and rescue operations.

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