Heli-One moves hundreds of feet above us, transferring people to and from offshore oil rigs. On the ground, the company concentrates its expertise in repair and overhaul of helicopters. Lorie Greenspan learns about the company’s expansive operation.
Heli-One was started in 2004 by CHC helicopters, a major provider of helicopter support to the oil and gas industry, primarily providing service to offshore platforms operated by the world’s major oil and gas companies. CHC, relates Rune Veenstra, vice president of business units for Heli-One, started the company after analyzing its European operations to strengthen its position in the market. Heli-One was seen as the vehicle through which the company could further support its helicopter customers as well as expand into new markets and the repair of new helicopters.
Today, Heli-One manages state-of-the-art repair and overhaul facilities, combined with the world’s largest commercial fleet, allowing the company to offer equipment and parts discounts, harness increased purchasing power and decrease costs associated with post delivery modifications. Heli-One has garnered the experience and flexibility to support operators around the world, operating in any number of challenging situations. Its solutions are aimed at minimizing aircraft downtime, decreasing costs and increasing operational agility.
In addition to component repair and overhaul, the company can complete non-destructive testing, modifications and completions, inspections, airframe refurbishments, avionic repair, upgrades and modifications, and an assortment of other services. In addition, Heli-One is a Transport Canada and EASA-approved maintenance organization The company operates a fully approved EASA/FAA/TCCA repair facility in Zevenaar, strategically located between Amsterdam and Dusseldorf Airport in the Netherlands.
Also operating under the CHC banner is Heli-One Components, which offers component design, manufacturing, overhaul, repair, exchange and sales services for helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, for both commercial and military customers. Moreover, Heli-One has a substantial array of capabilities and wealth of expertise under its belt; this includes:
- the world’s largest commercial fleet of medium and heavy helicopters;
- the holder of the world’s largest order book for new helicopters;
- more than 90 fleet heavy maintenance or aircraft post delivery modifications took place in its facilities during 2008;
- also in 2008 the company completed post delivery modifications on more than 16 Sikorsky S76C++ helicopters and three Eurocopter EC225 helicopters;
- operating the world’s only full service repair and overhaul facility for Super Puma helicopters (with the exception of Eurocopter).
By the end of 2008 Heli-One had more than 1,500 employees working in Canada, the USA, Norway, the Netherlands and the UK. Its impressive list of customers includes: Cougar Helicopters, Aeroservicios Especializados S.A. (ASESA), Royal Malaysian Air Force, Irish Coast Guard, Maalaysian Helicopter Services, VIH Aviation Group, Swedish Air Force, German Border Guard, ERA Helicopters and the Royal Danish Air Force.
“We understand needs and provide unique support to our customers,” Veenstra says. “The clear mission from CHC has been to grow and expand our capabilities to support our customers.”
EXPANSION IN BRAZIL
Currently Heli-One is expanding its operations through new helicopter support and leasing contracts with numerous operators in Brazil. The company recently announced two new contracts with Omni Táxi Aéreo of Brazil, for lease and power-by-the-hour-support. The first contract covers a lease of a Sikorsky S-76C helicopter, while the second contract is for power-by-the-hour support for major components on the leased S-76C helicopter. Both contracts commenced Nov. 20, 2008, each with two-year contract terms.
In addition, the company has signed a new five-year contract with Senior Táxi Aéreo for exchange units and consignment stock in support of Senior’s fleet of Sikorsky S-76C+ helicopters. The contract commenced in September 2008 and covers major and minor components, including main, tail, and intermediate gearboxes. Also, a new five-year contract with Aerorio Táxi Aéreo calls for full power-by-the-hour support of a Sikorsky C++ helicopter. The contract commenced in September 2008 and covers major and minor components, including main, tail, and intermediate gearboxes.
Heli-One already has existing contracts with these and other operators in Brazil – a testament to the company’s commitment to servicing Brazil and other South American operators. Currently Heli-One has agreements in place with Aeroleo Táxi Aéreo (lease of two AS332L1s and full power-by-the-hour support); Lider Aviaco (Sikorsky S-76 and B412 repair, overhaul, and maintenance support); Omni (lease of a SA365N), and BHS-Brazilian Helicopter Services Táxi Aéreo (lease of 13 S-76s and three Super Pumas and full power-by-the-hour support). Through these various contracts, Heli-One supports more than 55 helicopters in Brazil.
Total anticipated revenue from these new contracts is estimated at CDN 9.9 million over the contract terms (excluding options).
Heli-One was also awarded a new contract by FMV (the Swedish Defence Material Administration) to complete avionic upgrades on two Eurocopter AS332M1 Super Puma helicopters.
The helicopters will receive avionic upgrades and Night Vision Goggle (NVG) installation at Heli-One’s facility in Stavanger, Norway. The upgrades are expected to commence in the spring of 2009 and represent approximately CDN 11.2 million in revenue.
The Super Pumas are two of nine operated by the Swedish Armed Forces. Heli-One’s relationship with FMV spans more than 15 years, and Heli-One has already completed upgrades on three other Super Pumas for the Swedish Armed Forces. This contract further reinforces Heli-One’s commitment to building lasting relationships with its customers.
Heli-One is also involved in new purchase contracts for delivery of 12 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters with a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and 13 AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters with Agusta S.p.A. These purchases, according to the company, support CHC’s commitment to acquiring new technology aircraft and are part of CHC’s fleet renewal plan to meet the demands of its global customers.
The first S-92 helicopter from this order is expected to be delivered to CHC in June 2009 with deliveries continuing through March 2012. The first AW139 helicopter from this order is expected to be delivered to CHC later this year, with deliveries continuing through late 2011.
CHC has already acquired 16 S-92 and eight AW139 helicopters under previous orders.
Including the 12 S-92 helicopters from this order, essentially all of CHC’s heavy helicopter orders delivered in fiscal 2008 committed to customer contracts, with approximately 55 percent of heavy helicopter orders committed on contract for all years. Approximately 85 percent of CHC’s medium helicopter orders 3delivered in fiscal 2008 were committed to customer contracts, with approximately 45 percent of medium helicopter orders committed on contract for all years.
With the addition of these new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities, Heli-One will have the ability to support all the newly introduced aircraft types, including the Eurocopter EC225 helicopter, the Sikorsky S-76 and S-92 helicopters and the AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter.
In addition, independent of the purchase contracts and new MRO capabilities, CHC, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Export Development Canada have reached commercial agreement and are completing final documentation to expand an existing CHC/RBS lease facility by US$225 million. This provides CHC with the ability to lease finance a variety of different aircraft types flying in multiple jurisdictions around the world. When this agreement is finalized, the additional US$225 million capacity combined with other existing financing capacity will provide CHC with total credit-approved aircraft- specific financing facilities of approximately US$390 million.
With all of these activities it would seem the sky’s the limit for Heli-One as it continues to expand its operations and capabilities to bring value to a wide spectrum of helicopter programs.