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Bristow gains Milestone financing and celebrates flawless safety in Nigeria
Bristow Helicopters Ltd in the UK has taken 12 helicopters on lease after closing a deal with Milestone Aviation Group.
Read this story in our December 2014 printed issue.

Bristow Helicopters Ltd in the UK has taken 12 helicopters on lease after closing a deal with Milestone Aviation Group. The aircraft will be used for UK SAR services when Bristow commences its contract with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 2015. Milestone will provide the operator with 11 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and one AgustaWestland AW189, which have a combined value of at least US$420 million.

Four of the S-92s are currently operating from the Stornoway and Sumburgh bases in northern Scotland. Three are in other UK locations for training purposes, and the remaining four are in production. The AW189 helicopter is one of 11 AW189s that the operator will fly under the UK SAR contract.

“We are thankful to Milestone, our primary lessor, for working with our affiliate Bristow Helicopters and supporting the implementation of UK SAR,” says Jonathan Baliff, Bristow Group's president and ceo. “Milestone is a creative and committed partner. The operational lease financing that it provides is a vital part of our capital plan and enables us to cost-effectively serve the people of the UK in executing our SAR lifesaving missions.”

The Department for Transport in the UK awarded Bristow a £1.6 billion contract to provide civilian search and rescue services on March 26, 2013. By summer 2017, 10 helicopter bases will be fully operational across the UK.

Bristow's west Africa business unit (WASBU) and BGI Aviation Technical Services (BATS) are celebrating two consecutive years of Target Zero performance without a recordable injury or air accident. In October 2014 alone, operations in Nigeria achieved 1,000 hours of Target Zero performance.

WASBU director Akin Oni comments: “From its initial introduction in 2007, Target Zero has been embraced by the WASBU team. This safety milestone represents a considerable achieve-ment considering the environmental and operational challenges we face in Nigeria.”

HSE coordinator Frank Webb adds: “I recall when Target Zero was in its infancy and we were discussing whether it might be achievable. Now the word is 'we must maintain Target Zero'. The commitment to safety in WASBU is second to none, from the business unit director to the shop floor.”

Vp operations Mike Imlach commended the unit's staff. “Management has led by example, setting consistent expectations, making the right investments, and ensuring employees are provided with the tools, equipment and procedures to do their jobs safely,” he says.

“Staff at the front line are showing their commitment to the target. I would like to congratulate our staff in WASBU for this significant achievement and express my thanks to everyone for their hard work and dedication to safety.”

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