Private company to be formed to amalgamate helicopter operations as government shakes up infrastructure for EU entry

A new private helicopter company has been formed in Croatia with the aim of becoming the sole civil air support contractor for the Croatian government.

Helikopterska Kompanija (HIKO), formed by Austria's Human Consult Group, is seeking to provide emergency medical services, search and rescue, traffic surveillance, border control, freighting and passenger transport operations for the country. These services are now covered either by the ministry of the interior, the national police or the military.

HIKO business director Robert Hirc says: "The fusion of all helicopter operations into single operator/contractor would be less expensive than ad hoc use of inadequately equipped or sporadically located military or police aircraft." He adds that as a pre-condition for entry into the European Union, Croatia is required to modernise its helicopter fleets and strengthen its civil air support.

To provide blanket coverage of Croatia, HIKO plans to set up bases in Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka, Zadar and Split-Divulje, which will each cover a radius of about 100km (55nm) and provide a 20min response time. The company is also talking to the government with a view to using the existing infrastructure at airports and airbases, as well as building dedicated facilities on government-owned locations.



Source: Flight International