Aerospace and defence company Babcock Australasia has achieved nearly 1,400 oil and gas flights during its first year of Airbus H175 helicopter operations in East Timor. The company operates two H175s on personnel transport, search and rescue and medevac duties in the Timor Sea, and reports a 98 per cent aircraft availability rate for the 12 months following entry into service in January last year.
Airbus worked with Babcock to train 27 pilots and engineers on the H175 prior to delivery and Babcock has since employed 19 Timorese support staff at the Dili base, including four local engineers who are training at Airbus Helicopters' Marignane, France headquarters.
During 2018, Babcock's Timor operation recorded 1,274 flight hours in 1,365 sectors and the company received highly positive feedback from passengers praising the H175's comfort levels. The aircraft are operated in support of ConocoPhillips offshore operations in the region.
The H175 provides a smooth ride with lower cabin noise, large windows for increased visibility and enhanced emergency egress, comfortable seating and cabin climate controls. Already in service in the North Sea, western Africa and Gulf of Mexico, it was specifically designed to be exceptionally safe and competitive in the oil and gas and search and rescue sectors, with extremely powerful engines, up to 270 nm radius of operation and the latest technology in avionics and automation.
Managing director aviation, offshore, Andrew Cridland says: “As the aviation company who introduced the H175 aircraft to the southern hemisphere, we are extremely pleased with its performance in this first year of operation. Our exceptional reliability statistics are a testament to the excellent work performed by our highly skilled engineers and the commitment by Airbus to deliver the necessary parts in a timely manner to East Timor. The aircraft have been well received by our customer and the passengers we transport. As a super medium aircraft, the H175 has good economics and is clearly setting new standards in the offshore business.”
ConocPhillips manager, global aviation safety assurance James Adams adds: “We have been very pleased with the performance, economics and reliability of the H175. The success of our Timor operation has been a combined effort of Babcock Offshore Services and the excellent collaboration from the Airbus oil and gas support team.”
A total of 33 H175s are in service worldwide, having recorded 43,000 flight hours.