Eastern Airways Pitches in as Former Owner Bristow Wins BP North Sea Contract
Under pressure helicopter operator Bristow has secured a major UK deal with oil giant BP, reuniting it with Humberside’s Eastern Airways – the fixed wing business it has just sold.
A five year contract has been awarded for North Sea operations, creating new jobs in Aberdeen and Shetland.
The company said existing Sikorsky S92 helicopters will be deployed, combined with fixed wing support from Eastern.
As the US parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankrputcy protection, Bristow sold the 22-year-old airline back to founder Richard Lake OBE.
Confidence in the UK arm of the Houston firm will be a major confidence booster, with it, the ownership of Humberside Airport, and the UK Coastguard search and rescue operations immune from the US actions.
Having been hit by a slump in the oil and gas market, Bristow was found to be in breach of leases after helicopters and their engines were interchanged. Such was the extent of the problem, it was unable to file its fourth quarter results from 2018, and still hasn’t, which led to it being in breach of NYSE rules. The share price then bottomed out, putting it in further breach of Wall Street regulations.
The new deal with BP is described as a “fully integrated aviation solution,” ensuring workers are moved around the operations efficiently, between UK mainland, Shetland and the North Sea rigs. Only announced now, the contract actually began as in the US pressure reached a climax and the court action was taken, in Texas.
New pilot and crew positions are being created.
Matt Rhodes, director UK & Turkmenistan oil and gas, said: “We recognise BP Plc has placed its trust and confidence in Bristow and we are committed to maintaining the highest safety standards every day and at all times, while delivering an efficient and best-in-class solution to help BP achieve their business objectives.
“This award further builds on Bristow’s success in the region, adding to two additional long-term contracts recently secured operating from our Aberdeen hub.”
Eastern, while based at Humberside, enjoys a prominent position in Aberdeen, the hub of its UK operations, built on the oil and gas industry.
Tony Burgess, managing director of Eastern, said: “We are delighted to provide fixed-wing air service support on behalf of Bristow to BP as part of this new long-term contract award, as it is an important part of our business supporting the transportation of offshore personnel in both the oil and gas sectors in the UK and Europe. This underlines our role in specialist contract air service provision for many industries including the energy sector.”
Unveiling a £1 million support package for Aberdeen Art Gallery just over a week ago, BP North Sea regional president Ariel Flores said: “Aberdeen remains an important base for BP with the skills and talents of this city supporting our North Sea operations for more than 50 years. We have invested at record levels in our North Sea business, developing a portfolio fit for the future.”