Bristow Helicopters has unveiled a new passenger terminal for offshore workers flying out to North Sea installations.
The development at Aberdeen’s Forties Road helicopter complex will serve passengers flying fixed wing with Eastern Airways to Scatsta and Sumburgh.
The helicopter operator, which is part of US-based Bristow Group, has unveiled the terminal while also adding two new Leonardo AW189 aircraft to boost its Aberdeen fleet.
Passengers arriving at the site will have access to modern check-in and baggage desks, along with a waiting area including a pool table, IT pod, and a café run by the owners of Banff’s Spotty Bag Shop.
It comes after the firm said it was facing “challenging” market conditions, posting pre-tax losses of £104.5million for the year to March 31, 2017, compared to a deficit of £25.6million the previous year.
Bristow cut 12 engineering posts in Aberdeen and Shetland in September and a month later said it was “considering cuts” to 12 pilot roles at its bases in Shetland and Norwich.
Plans for the new fixed-wing terminal were first revealed in May and have been taken forward within 11 weeks of approval by Aberdeen City Council.
Matt Rhodes, director of Bristow Helicopters’ UK operations, said the investment in facilities had been made to provide greater comfort for its passengers and flight crews.
Mr Rhodes said: “The heliport has been in continuous use for more than 40 years and in our view, maximising the use of our existing property by creating an additional terminal in what was a former hangar is an excellent example of what can be done within the limitations brought about by the lower-for-longer oil price.
“We have invested in our fleet to ensure that we are able to maintain a consistently punctual service in the North Sea, and the facilities to ensure that passengers are more comfortable when heading to or coming home from one of the harshest working environments in the world.”
Louise Hall, Bristow’s UK service delivery and standards manager, led the project to redevelop the hangar.
She said: “We have a significant number of passengers who travel to and from our base by aeroplane, in addition to our core Central North Sea helicopter programme.
“The most important aspect of the works was I wanted it to be different and not to feel like any other airport, it needed to have a homier feel while having all the facilities you expect from a modern departure lounge.”