Offshore helicopter transportation services provider CHC Helicopter has made the inaugural flight of its new Airbus H175 super-medium aircraft to the Ocean Patriot drilling rig.
The Diamond Offshore-owned semi-submersible drilling rig, Ocean Patriot, is currently under a three-year contract with Shell in the UK sector of the North Sea, according to Diamond’s fleet status report from July.
The contract with Shell expires in October this year after which the rig will start its new North Sea program for Apache in the second quarter of 2018.
The Airbus Helicopters H175 is a new-generation medium-sized rotorcraft which first entered service in December 2014.
The H175 was designed in collaboration with major oil and gas and search and rescue (SAR) customers and operators to respond to specific market needs and safety requirements, CHC said on Tuesday.
Mark Abbey, CHC regional director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, said: “I am delighted to see the H175 officially take off for our European operation, the first of three in the CHC fleet, and to offer this new-generation aircraft to Shell, for whom we have provided aviation services, in the United Kingdom and North Sea, since 2012.
The aircraft can be configured to carry up to 16 passengers, Abbey added. To support the introduction of the H175 to CHC’s fleet, the company designated the Aberdeen base as its global H175 engineering center of excellence.
Dave Balevic, senior VP of engineering and operations at CHC Helicopter, said: “The addition of the H175 allows us to offer the latest aircraft technology. Locating our H175 engineering center of excellence in Aberdeen will ensure current and future customers benefit from our best in class, global standards, and processes.”