Babcock has in the last week completed a fleet move that saw two helicopters moving from UK to Australia, and two coming back on the return flight. The move was completed by freight specialists Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA), using an Antonov An-124 aircraft. After shipping two Leonardo AW139 helicopters from Prestwick UK to Melbourne in Australia, VDA then positioned their Antonov to Darwin. Here they have picked up two Sikorsky S92s which arrived back at Prestwick Airport in the UK late on Sunday evening for future offshore work on the North Sea.
The two AW139s will be operated from Karratha by Babcock on their new five year contract with Santos, announced recently. They were part of a fleet of four which were operated by Babcock MCS Offshore from their British base at Norwich for Perenco. Babcock lost this contract to Bristow, effective 1st January 2019, and then closed their base there. Of the remaining two, Waypoint Leasing immediately put one of the AW139s into storage with Agusta Aerospace Services (a subsidiary of Leonardo) at their facility in Liege, Belgium. We await the onward work for the fourth aircraft, which has been at Babcock’s Aberdeen base since 2nd January.
The pair of S92s leaves just two others in the Babcock MCS Australiasia fleet, alongside at least ten Bell 412s, two Airbus H175s, ten Leonardo AW139s, and some smaller aircraft. The UK operation of Babcock MCS Offshore now has just three AW139s including the one currently in storage and two others contracted for offshore SAR work. Their UK offshore fleet also includes 14 Sikorsky S92s, four Airbus H175s and the two AS365N3s operated out of Blackpool for Centrica.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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