MONTREAL, March 8 - Canadian Helicopters Income Fund (TSX: CHL.UN) (the "Fund"), the largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded additional work in Afghanistan by the the United States Transportation Command ("USTRANSCOM"). This amendment to the support contract previously announced on December 22, 2008, entails the movement of supplies and passengers to military forward operating locations, and involves the provision of two fully crewed and supported Sikorsky S61 heavy category helicopters. One of the aircraft will be provided from the existing fleet of Canadian Helicopters, and one will be leased.
The Fund's initial operations in Afghanistan, which similarly entail the movement of supplies and passengers, commenced in the first quarter of 2009 and involve the provision of three Bell 212 medium category aircraft.
The prime contractor is the Canadian Commercial Corporation, Canada's international contracting agency, which focuses on government-to-government contracting and procurement. The additional services, scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2010, will be for an approximate seven-month base period with a one-year renewal option, to November 30th 2011, exercisable at the discretion of USTRANSCOM . The contract is denominated in U.S. dollars and is comprised primarily of a fixed monthly rate and variable hourly revenue components.
Total revenue to the Fund is expected to be in excess of US$35 million, assuming the option period is exercised and expected hours are flown. Revenue for this contract reflects the significantly higher level of effort required to accomplish the work in Afghanistan.
"This additional work in Afghanistan represents both a recognition of the professionalism of our operations there and a still further broadening of our long term relationship with the U.S. military," said Don Wall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Helicopters. "The contract also affords the Fund a timely business opportunity, in that it will assist Canadian Helicopters to offset any continuing recessionary pressures in our domestic market."
ABOUT CANADIAN HELICOPTERS INCOME FUND
Through Canadian Helicopters Limited, Canadian Helicopters Income Fund is the largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada and one of the largest in the world based on the size of its fleet. From over 35 base locations across Canada, Canadian Helicopters provides helicopter services to a broad range of sectors, including emergency medical services, infrastructure maintenance, utilities, oil and gas, forestry, mining and construction. In addition to helicopter transportation services, Canadian Helicopters operates three flight schools, provides third party repair and maintenance services in Canada and provides military support in Afghanistan. With over 60 years of experience, Canadian Helicopters is an industry leader in establishing safety standards and operating procedures.
This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to the future performance of the Fund. Forward-looking statements, specifically those concerning future performance and expected revenues from contracts, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. Consequently, readers should not place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. In addition, these forward-looking statements relate to the date on which they were made. The Fund disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless being required by applicable laws.
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