7-May-2012 Source: Rogers Helicopters
Rogers Helicopters, one of the country’s leading aerial firefighting specialists, is now emerging as a major provider of services to the gas and electric utility industry which relies increasingly on helicopters for power line installations and other construction projects.
â€œAlthough we are still committed to firefighting, we decided to pursue the utility and construction markets in order to increase the amount of year-round work opportunities, as well as to invigorate and grow our company,â€ said Robin Rogers, Vice-President of the 50-year-old, Clovis (Fresno), California-based helicopter services company. â€œAerial firefighting is still mostly a seasonal (business) and in some years the fire seasons are more active than others; but utility work adds other opportunities that are available year-round in the Continental US, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.â€
The decision to diversify the company’s services portfolio has resulted in a 25 percent increase in sales from construction related work in 2011, and a major shift in its revenue base. According to Rogers, as recently as 2010, some 65 percent of the operator’s business came from US Forest Service firefighting contracts. â€œLast year, it was 35 percent, with 65 percent attributed to construction and charter,â€ he said.
The shift in the revenue base was supported by a major fleet expansion over the past 12 months, with the acquisition of eight helicopters, including two Bell 206L3 Long Rangers, four McDonnell Douglas MD500Es, and two McDonnell Douglas MD530F++ models. Rogers reported that the eight helicopters will support electric and gas utility construction projects. In addition, two Bell 407s were purchased to replace a Eurocopter Twin Star and an Agusta 109K2 for the company’s air ambulance business.
Rogers said that the company’s strategy is to â€œcultivate a balance of accountsâ€ in order to decrease dependence on any one business line. In that regard, Rogers Helicopters took a major step toward expanding its fixed wing charter business with the purchase of a Cessna Citation Ultraâ€”its first business jetâ€”slated for a June delivery.
Rogers Helicopters was founded in 1962 by Harry Rogers with a single Hiller UH-12E, and is a member of the American Helicopter Services & Aerial Firefighting Association (AHSAFA), a Washington-based trade association representing commercial operators of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft engaged in aerial wildland firefighting.