Bristow takes 60% stake in UK's Eastern Airways

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Bristow Helicopters has acquired a 60% interest in UK regional carrier Eastern Airways.

The rotorcraft operator, itself 49% owned by US-based Bristow Group, is paying £27 million ($44 million) in cash for the stake and has committed to paying an additional £6 million over a three-year period if financial targets are met.

Additional agreements give Bristow the right to buy all shares held by other Eastern Airways stockholders, who in turn gain the right, after seven years, to require Bristow to buy their shares.

Based at Humberside airport, Eastern Airways operates charter and scheduled services targeted at the UK oil and gas sector, a market also core to Bristow Helicopters.

Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database lists Eastern Airways’ active fleet as comprising 16 BAe Jetstream 41 and seven Saab 2000 turboprops plus two Embraer ERJ-135 and two ERJ-145 regional jets.

The carrier has long had a partnership with Bristow to fly oil and gas company employees between Aberdeen and Scatsta airport in the Shetland Islands. Bristow then transports the crews offshore.

“We believe this investment will strengthen Bristow Helicopters’ ability to provide a complete suite of point-to-point transportation services for existing European-based passengers, expand helicopter services in certain areas like the Shetland Islands, and create a more integrated logistics solution for global clients,” says the Aberdeen-based rotorcraft operator, which expects the deal to contribute some $160 million in annual revenue along with $25 million in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rent (EBITDAR).