The latest helicopter firm to land in Aberdeen has won a new contract to provide flights for North Sea operator Ithaca Energy.
NHV Group announced yesterday (MON) that it had secured the deal to ferry workers to and from the Harrier development, 150 nautical miles off the coast of the Granite City.
The Belgian helicopter firm is the latest to muscle in on North Sea aircraft operations, challenging the already established Dyce-based operators CHC, Babcock and Bristow for their share of the market.
NHV said the Ithaca’s Harrier contact, will be supported using Airbus’s H175 aircraft unlikeother aviation firms working in the region.
North Se helicopter companies have been forced to rely on Sikorsky S92s since the UK Civil Aviation Authority grounded Airbus’s Super Puma EC225LP and AS332L2 models.
The flight ban came into effect following a fatal crash off Norway which killed 13 people, including father of two Iain Stuart from Laurencekirk.
NHV is to add a third H175 to its fleet in Aberdeen in order fulfill the contract duties with Ithaca.
Operations are expected to get underway in the second quarter of 2017.
Flights will depart from NHV’s base in Aberdeen to the Harrier well.
It is a new contact so has not been taken over from any of the other helicopter operators based at Aberdeen Airport.
A spokeswoman for NHV refused to disclose the contract value.
The move to make a fresh break into the European market comes just weeks after NHV appointed a new executive chairman to take the helm.
Dominique Lafont is to take up the role at the head of the Belgium based business to business transport supplier on the recommendation of former chairman Pascal Colmbani.
Lafont joined the board in 2015.
The change at the top is intended to support the company’s ambitions to become a “major sector player” in Europe and Africa.
In a bid to support this aim, NHV will be doubling its total fleet of H175s to 16.
NHV started operating out of Aberdeen at the beginning of 2016 and announced the opening of a new hangar, apron and passenger handling facilities last October.
Base manager Jamie John has welcomed the contract with Ithaca.
He said: “The award of this contract and working with a new partner strengthens NHV’s presence in Aberdeen.
“We look forward to the beginning of what we believe will be a long and successful partnership with Ithaca.”
The Harrier field comprises the Harrier Ekofisk and Harrier Tor chalk reservoirs, both containing gas condensate.
The field was originally discovered in 2003 by Maersk.