Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

Norway's Helicopter Service has secured three contracts in Australia through its Adelaide-based subsidiary Lloyd Helicopters. The deals have a combined value of NKr300 million ($40 million).

Under the terms of the first contract with the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra, Lloyd will supply a Bell 412 search and rescue helicopter over five years, starting on 1 October. The second deal, which will also run for five years and is a renewal of an existing contract, involves the upgrade of five Sikorsky S-76A+ helicopters to S-76++ standard and their deployment to support search and rescue missions for the Royal Australian Air Force.

The final contract will involve the continued supply of two Bell 206s for oil company Santos. The helicopters will provide onshore support for the company for three years, beginning on 1 October.

Stavanger based Helicopter Services is now actively pursuing acquisitions and joint ventures in emerging offshore helicopter markets. "We are focusing on the growing global offshore markets in south-west Africa, Brazil and Australia," says Helicopter Service chief executive Jan Bengtson.

In July, the company acquired the remaining 66% of shares in Court Helicopters of South Africa, in which it already held a one-third stake. "We bought Court so that we could hold a stake in the offshore markets of Namibia and Angola, which is now the fastest- growing exploration market," adds Bengtson.

Helicopter Services, which owns and operates around 160 helicopters and 11 fixed-wing aircraft, will initially deploy S-76 helicopters to transport personnel and cargo to and from oil rigs within this region, but believes that the Eurocopter Super Puma would be more suitable. "We would like to position our Super Pumas in the growth areas and medium-sized helicopters [S-76] in other [less busy] regions, but we have no plans to buy new aircraft at this stage," says Bengtson.

Source: Flight International