SonAir, Africa’s largest oil and gas helicopter operator, has become the first operator to resume passenger transportation flights with the suspended EC225 fleet. Three flights were performed successfully with two EC225s from Luanda to two offshore platforms.
Based in Angola, SonAir is the aviation division of Sonangol, Angola’s national oil company. Its resumption of EC225 rotations for the oil and gas sector marks a new step in the return-to-service status for the full EC225 fleet worldwide.
“The three flights were routine, confirming that the EC225’s service restart is backed by strong safety measures that give confidence to our clients,” said said João Andrade, SonAir’s Chairman and CEO.
SonAir has a total of 11 EC225s located at its Luanda, Angola operating base, of which nine are dedicated to crew-change missions for offshore oil and gas platforms. SonAir’s Eurocopter fleet of aircraft also includes four AS332 L2 and three AS365 N3 helicopters.
“Eurocopter thanks SonAir and for its confidence in the EC225,” stated Guillaume Faury, President and CEO Eurocopter. “These first flights were possible thanks to a strong collaboration. Eurocopter remains fully committed to supporting this major oil and gas industry service provider in performing its very demanding missions.”
The EC225 is an 11-ton-class rotorcraft in Eurocopter’s Super Puma family. With more than 300,000 flight hours logged in service worldwide to date, it is deployed in civil, military and parapublic operations that range from offshore transportation and cargo airlift to search and rescue (SAR) duties.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 22,000 people. In 2012, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 6.3 billion Euros, orders for 469 new helicopters and a 44 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter’s strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. Eurocopter’s worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents supports more than 2,900 customers. There are currently more than 11,780 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 148 countries. Eurocopter offers the most comprehensive civil and military helicopter range in the world and is fully committed to safety as the most important aspect of its business.
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