Babock Mission Critical Services Espana has launched a new service to rival Helity, who have had no competition to date. With an initial route between Malaga and Ceuta, the AW139 will fly six return routes every weekday. Babaock has created the new branding of HeliEST for these passenger services.
Ceuta is a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa, wholly bordered by Morocco. Malaga is a popular tourist resort on the southern coast of Spain, and the direct distance between the two is 76 miles.
The service opens 12th November, and bookings are now open in their dedicated HeliEST website www.heliest.es
#UPDATE# the start date was later amended to 27th November
Passenger operations in Spain is nothing new for Babcock, but needs a bit of a history lesson as the ownership and naming of operators in Spain is a long and complicated one. British company Babcock bought Avincis Group in 2014, and that company was formed through the acquisition of a number of European operators including Spanish-based INAER. In turn, INAER was founded in 2003 through the merger of Helicsa and Helisureste.
Helisureste started passenger operations with Bell 412 and Leonardo AW139 helicopters between Ceuta and Malaga in 1996, and stopped flying scheduled services in 2012. Another operator – Ceuta Helicopters – provided a service between 2013 and the summer of 2014, and when flying ceased only link to Ceuta was by ship until Helity launched in 2017.
Helity currently operates three AW139s on routes linking Ceuta with Malaga and Algeciras. Their current schedules show 25 return flights a week between Ceuta and Malaga, compared to the planned 30 for HeliEST.
Data from Parapex Media shows that Babock operates over 110 helicopters in Spain with significant contracts in air ambulance, firefighting and SAR. Their fleet of AW139s is mostly on SAR work for SASEMAR (Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima).
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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