HeliHub.com understands from reliable sources in the offshore helicopter industry that oil company Nexen Petroleum is the principal behind the acquisition of two Airbus H175 helicopters to be operated by Babcock MCS Offshore. We approached Nexen to validate their involvement, but their Corporate Communications lead in Aberdeen declined to comment. Babcock also declined to comment, but was able to confirm that a press release on the H175 addition to their fleet would be forthcoming at the appropriate time.
The pair are due for delivery within the next two weeks and will be registered G-MCSE and G-MCSF. Both are expected to fly in the colours of Babcock – dark blue over white with gold stripes between. A poor photo has already been circulated on an online forum apparently showing this scheme. Babcock carried out some tests with a yellow Airbus demonstrator H175 at their Norwich base between 29th October and 5th November 2016.
The involvement of an oil company – whether in purchasing helicopters outright, or being the lead lessor with a leasing company – would be a first in the North Sea market. It would also bring new discussions on the separation of responsibilities between Nexen as owner and Babcock as operator, with the latter providing pilots and maintenance only – particularly if the oil company picks a different operator at the end of a given contract period. This model is a little more typical in the onshore market, with sister company Babcock MCS Onshore already flying EMS helicopters in the UK in this way, including a night-capable EC135T2e owned by Midlands Air Ambulance.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
- Heli Holland expand offshore fleet with two H155s and an H175
- EASA raises H175 gross weight to 7.8 tonnes
- Milestone places €200 million firm order with Airbus Helicopters for H135, H145 and H175
- NHV wins UK-based H175 contract with Ithaca Energy
- Airbus launches H175 flight-test campaign
- Airbus delivers first H175 to Americas
- NHV starts H175 operations out of Denmark
- Airbus delivers first VIP version of the H175
- Airbus delivers first H175 into the Americas
- NHV start operating two H175s out of Ghana
- NHV starts in Aberdeen with two H175s
- H175 to start UK-based offshore operations
- Hong Kong’s Government Flying Services acquires seven H175s
- Airbus Helicopters H175 reaches 1,000 flight hours with NHV
- Milestone orders up to 28 Airbus H175s
- H175 tours Mexico, the US and Brazil
- Bristow increases H175 order to seventeen helicopters
- First two P&WC-powered EC175 helicopters delivered to NHV
- EC175’s first months on the job: High availability with NHV
- Airbus Helicopters drops PW210E engine option for X4