HELI EXPO HOUSTON, TX – The VIH Aviation Group of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada today announced the purchase of two new Eurocopter EC225 long-range heavy helicopters. The new twin-turbine helicopters will support its expansions plans in the Australian offshore oil and gas sector and be flown by HNZ Cougar Helicopters Pty. Ltd., a new joint venture.
“The addition of the new EC225 aircraft to our fleet signifies our commitment to the rapidly growing offshore oil and gas industry in Australia and around the world,” commented Mr. Ken Norie, President and CEO of VIH Aviation Group. “VIH is the only Canadian controlled helicopter operator offering the EC225; we have a long history of being the Canadian launch customer for Eurocopter’s products, and are proud to extend this partnership by adding the EC225 to our fleet.”
The EC225 offers offshore oil and gas industry superior speed, range, payload, optimal safety and reliability. The helicopter is the latest generation of the Super Puma/Cougar family, which has flown more than 4 million flight hours. The EC225 can accommodate up to 19 passengers for offshore crew change flights.
“We are extremely proud that VIH Aviation Group continues to place its confidence in Eurocopter and has chosen the EC225 for oil and gas operations. It marks the return of Cougar to the Super Puma family on which the company had accumulated such a recognized expertise in the harsh operational conditions of Newfoundland. VIH’s selection of the EC225 serves as confirmation that our product evolutions are well received by the operators and the market”, remarked Lutz Bertling, President and CEO of Eurocopter Group.
The EC225 is certified to the latest JAR29 standards, the state-of-the-art avionics and autopilot system minimize the pilot’s workload and ensure crews can perform cost effective missions, with absolute confidence.
The EC225 is powered by two Safran Makila 2A1 turbine engines with FADEC digital engine control with dual duplex channels to ensure the highest level of reliability.
More than 85 units of the EC225 family have been delivered to 25 customers in 18 countries, the majority for transportation use by the offshore oil and gas sector.
“As VIH Aviation Group continues to expand its global footprint to provide offshore oil and gas helicopter services, the addition of the EC225 to our fleet is the right operational decision,” said Senior Vice President Offshore Oil and Gas, Mr. Rick Burt. “We believe the EC225 is the aircraft best suited to our mission requirements in Australia and we look forward to their arrival.”
Through its operating entities – VIH Helicopters Ltd. and Cougar Helicopters Inc. – the VIH Aviation Group currently flies 72 single and twin-engine helicopters, with over 20 more aircraft on order, from strategically located bases throughout Canada, Alaska, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, South America and Australia.
The company’s new Eurocopter EC225 helicopters will be flown by HNZ Cougar Helicopters Pty. Ltd. which is a joint venture launched in October 2009 that combines the strengths of the Canada’s VIH Aviation Group and New Zealand’s HNZ Helicopters to serve the Australian offshore market.
One of North America’s oldest and most experienced helicopter operators, the privately owned VIH Aviation Group began serving customers along Canada’s rugged Pacific coast in 1955 and subsequently expanded globally. VIH Aviation Group is globally recognized for its superior all weather, deep water, offshore capabilities developed in North America through its operating company Cougar Helicopters which began offshore operations in 1990 and has almost 20 years experience flying in some of the most inhospitable offshore operating environments in the world.
The VIH Aviation Group also provides contract offshore search and rescue services, and serves a broad range of helicopter charter markets including forestry, oil and gas, air ambulance, mineral exploration, aerial construction and tourism.
About HNZ Cougar
HNZ Cougar Helicopters Pty., Ltd is a joint venture that brings together the expertise and resources of two of the world’s most respected and longest operating full service helicopter companies (VIH Aviation Group and HNZ Helicopters) to service the rapidly growing offshore oil and gas industry in Australia. HNZ is renowned for its full range of advanced helicopter services in New Zealand and Australia. The combining of these two brands, their expertise and first-class people and resources, has created a top-tier operator focused on providing offshore helicopter services in Australia.
About ECL and Eurocopter Group
Eurocopter Canada Limited is a subsidiary of Eurocopter. Eurocopter Canada – based in Fort Erie, Ontario – has a customer support network that spans the entire country. Eurocopter Canada celebrated 2009 as its 25th anniversary year. Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.
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