Argentina-based operator Helicópteros Marinos has joined the Airbus HCare family. The energy operator has been working for TotalEnergies in Tierra del Fuego for more than 34 years, operating from the city of Río Grande and the Total Austral operations base in Río Cullen to provide support for the production and exploration platforms. Located between 10 and 50 nm off the coast, the platforms comprise the world’s most southernmost offshore oil and gas production field.
As the only energy operator in the region, Helicópteros Marinos has decided to rely on an HCare global support contract and FlyScan predictive maintenance for its two new five-bladed H145 helicopters. These were delivered in December last year and are being used for offshore search and rescue as well as oil and gas operations.
Since 2010, the company had been providing passenger and cargo transport to the platforms using two four-bladed EC145s, which had clocked more than 13,000 flight hours. However, demand for greater safety, comfort, load capacity and range prompted the company to renew its fleet, and the five-bladed H145s arrived. With their greater power, the aircraft can keep flying safely in all conditions, including situations of engine failure, and the Helionix avionics suite reduces crew workloads in instrument flight conditions, which occur often in these latitudes.
Low water temperatures and strong winds mean survival time in the event of a forced water landing is minimal, so one of the two aircraft is devoted exclusively to SAR support while the main helicopter performs passenger and cargo transport missions to the platforms. The autopilot supports hover flight with pinpoint accuracy, allowing the SAR helicopter to perform rescue winch operations in very low visibility conditions over water.
The global HCare support agreement brings together, in a single part availability contract, the supply of all spare parts required for the maintenance of the aircraft, allowing for better cost control and forecasting, while facilitating day-to-day operations management.
As well as parts availability, HCare guarantees the exchange, repair and overhaul of helicopter parts and components (HCare Smart), and technical support and maintenance for customers looking for a guaranteed level of fleet availability (HCare Infinite). Its main objective is to propose flexible solutions that improve helicopter availability and safety, and help ease an operator’s budget planning, with fixed rate per flight hour, by-the-hour options or a full availability commitment.
Airbus’ global HCare network comprises four logistics centres and six local inventories worldwide.
The relationship between Helicópteros Marinos and Airbus Helicopters goes back more than 40 years, during which the company has amassed more than 95,000 flight hours with Airbus aircraft, so it has detailed knowledge of the maintenance programmes and the peculiarities of the procedures for importing spare parts into Argentina.