Heliwest moves into offshore operations, taking over former Bristow contract

Heliwest moves into offshore operations, taking over former Bristow contract

29-Mar-2011 Source: Heliwest

Leading WA-based helicopter company Heliwest has moved into the offshore operations area, securing a contract with Roc Oil (WA) Pty Ltd to provide service and maintenance crew transfers for its Cliff Head project off the (Western Australian) coast from Dongara.

Heliwest CEO David Grimes said the contract, previously operated by Bristow, was a major win for the local company, signalling a strong, new presence in the offshore helicopter sector.

“The move into regular offshore operations is an exciting one for us and sits perfectly within our strategic aims,” said Mr Grimes.

“ROC is a great client for us and we’re delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide their service and maintenance crew transfers between Dongara and the nearby Cliff Head facility.”

The ROC-developed and operated facility at Cliff Head has been producing oil since May 2006. The field produced more than 1.4 MMBBL in 2010 and continues to deliver in line with reserve expectations.

Heliwest is operating a BO105LS twin engine helicopter on the contract and a B212 machine for crew changes when required.

Heliwest is also expanding its operations in Papua New Guinea with the anticipated completion of a new contract to supply two B212 helicopters to support offshore oil and gas operations for Saipem. Heliwest now operates six B212 helicopters in PNG in a joint venture with Helifix of Port Moresby.

In onshore developments, Heliwest has opened operating bases at Toowoomba and Mt Isa, the first two of planned strategic expansions into Queensland airspace.

Heliwest proudly operates the largest helicopter pilot training school in Australasia and expects strong demand in Mt Isa, Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.

The company is a Registered Training Organisation, which allows Heliwest to host international students. RTOs are authorised to deliver industry specific training that is nationally recognised.

Chief pilot Ash Williams said Heliwest’s Toowoomba operations would be overseen by John Wells and Matt Wallace, both highly qualified ex-Army pilots with extensive flight training experience.

Capt. Williams said the Mt Isa base also supports the operations of the North Queensland Helicopter Rescue Service, a community-based rescue helicopter operation.

“We’re confident of the longer-term opportunities in Toowoomba and the Mt Isa region, especially given the increasing demand for services by the resources and energy sectors,” said Capt. Williams. “We have already responded to the dramatic events of the January floods by deploying extra machines and staff to Toowoomba to assist with search and rescue and recovery operations.”

While many companies struggled with the after-effects of the Global Financial Crisis, Heliwest has experienced a stellar year of record expansion.

Australia’s largest on-shore helicopter company, Heliwest has expanded its operations by signing a raft of commercial agreements throughout 2010 and early 2011 and is moving confidently into offshore operations.

The recent contracts are as diverse as they are significant and underline the capability of a company formed 18 years ago by pilots Alan Bailey and David Grimes who fill the positions of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer respectively at Heliwest.

Over the past 12 months Heliwest has:

  • Created a strategic alliance with Abu Dhabi Aviation, one of the world’s largest non-military fleets of rotary aircraft, capable of servicing major onshore and offshore clients across Australasia and around the globe;
  • Launched a major joint venture with Helifix of Port Moresby with the aim of becoming the premier aviation company in PNG;
  • Won a two-year contract with major telecommunications operator Digicel for the construction of mobile phone towers across Papua New Guinea;
  • Signed an avionics dealership agreement with the internationally renowned Honeywell Corporation;
  • Established a cooperative agreement with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in WA to provide the iconic organisation with helicopter support across the state
  • Joined the Western Australian Department of Health in a spraying program to help control mosquitoes in the South West of WA;
  • Provide a Bell Jetranger to Network Ten Perth’s news division for the next four-six years;
  • Secured a two-year contract with the APA Group to conduct aerial gas pipeline surveys in the Perth metropolitan area; and
  • Won its first offshore contract, unseating Bristow to provide Roc Oil service and maintenance crew transfers between Dongara and the company’s offshore operation.

Mr Bailey said 2010 had been a period of growth and diversification for Heliwest and the company would continue to reinforce its reputation as Western Australia’s largest on-shore helicopter operator and largest helicopter flight training school, whilst continuing to seek further opportunities for growth next year.

“2011 is a year where we can further expand in Queensland and PNG and into offshore operations,” he said.

Mr Bailey said Heliwest was on the verge of signing another long term agreement with the Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation relating to helicopter land management and tourism on their 50,000 square kilometres of land in the Northern Territory including tourism flights into the Katherine Gorge.

Mr Grimes said the ongoing growth and success of Heliwest was all about people and he had no doubt the Heliwest team was the best in the industry.

“Great companies are born of great people and I can state unashamedly that Heliwest is a great company,” he said.

“When Alan and I started Heliwest in 1992 we had two employees, now we have more than 100.

“The numbers have changed significantly but the skill and dedication to customer satisfaction of every member of the Heliwest family remains as it always has been.”

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