Danish operator DanCopter has had 42,000 passengers on board along with 740 tonnes of baggage in the first 12 months of its contract with Shell.
DanCopter was awarded the contract in July 2012 having operated in the North Sea since 2003. It is responsible for helicopters carrying passengers and freight to and from Shell platforms in the southern North Sea, and as part of the award it contracted all passenger and freight facilities, check-in, processing, security screening and briefing services to SaxonAir. The handler owns and operates a business aviation centre at Norwich that includes dedicated facilities for private and business aviation, offshore passengers and freight.
The anniversary was marked with a joint open day between DanCopter and SaxonAir for all related staff, organisations and individuals involved in the operation, as well as key local businesses.
Group commercial director for SaxonAir Christopher Mace says: “The offshore industry is a vital part of the UK infrastructure. Our services and dedicated facilities for DanCopter and Shell enable their flights to be processed efficiently and safely. We are very pleased to be working with DanCopter, marking the first anniversary of the Shell operation, and we look forward to many more years of joint cooperation.”
In addition, DanCopter has received its fourth EC225 helicopter, which will be used for off-shore transport duties including crew change missions to oil and gas platforms in the North Sea. The handover was made at Eurocopter's production facility in Marignane, France, and was followed by the helicopter's ferry flight to Esbjerg, Denmark, where it will be based. DanCopter ceo Jens Anders Jensen comments: “This latest helicopter will provide additional resources as the EC225 returns to service on North Sea transportation missions.
“Safe operations are the top priority for us, and we have confidence in the EC225's ability to resume its role as a workhorse on our off-shore oil and gas missions.”
The EC225 can carry up to 19 passengers on heavy-lift missions to platforms located 140-155 miles from the coast. DanCopter believes that the helicopter's large cabin and ability to contend with winds, waves and icy conditions make it well suited for such challenging service. The EC225 had been suspended from service by EASA after an extensive investigation into the main gear box shaft failures of helicopters of this type in the North Sea in 2012. However, on July 10 EASA approved the prevention and detection measures developed by Eurocopter for the twin-engine rotorcraft, allowing for a return to service worldwide.