To maintain leadership of airlift duties for the country's oil and gas sector, Angolan operator SonAir is commencing a partnership with Milestone Aviation Group for the lease of three EC225. The helicopters are the first of 30 aircraft ordered by Milestone 12 months ago. Deliveries are planned during the first and second quarters of 2014, and will join the EC225, AS332 L2 and AS365 N3 rotorcraft already in the SonAir fleet.
“As the largest African oil and gas helicopter operator, we rely on the EC225, with its range, capacity and overall performance, to perform challenging missions in tropical environments,” says SonAir ceo João Andrade. “This transaction for near-term EC225 deliveries allows us to maintain our leadership position in the offshore oil and gas market.
“Milestone has provided us with customised, flexible terms on operating leases for EC225s that meet our needs, allowing us to fulfill the requirements of our customers, delivering value and operational leverage for our company.”
The EC225's five-blade main rotor and low vibration levels make it an efficient solution for oil and gas missions, including offshore and passenger transport as well as SAR.
Commercial director, Henda Teixeira, adds: “We already operate a fleet of 11 EC225s and this was an important factor in our decision.
“The dry lease availability was the ideal option for the short to medium-term contract that our customers were requesting.”
She says that the long range capability, the reliability and capacity are the most valued features of the type. It is hoped that the fleet will increase further by the end of the year, with 16 EC225s anticipated by the end of the first quarter 2015.
Sonair is a subsidory of the Angolan national oil company Sonangol.