Indian helicopter charter company Global Vectra Helicorp plans to increase its fleet size by over 50% to 29 helicopters by 2009, as part of a Rp3.9 billion ($90 million) expansion.

"Our market share for the offshore logistics sector is about 46%, and we plan to increase it to 75-78% by 2009 through this expansion," says SJS Saighal, chairman of the Bombay Stock Exchange-listed company. He adds that 20% of the total cost, about Rp780 million, will be paid for using the company's cashflow, and the rest will be funded through lease financing.

The company, which primarily serves the Indian oil exploration and production sector, currently has a fleet of 18 helicopters - all Bell 412s. This will increase to 20 by the end of March with the addition of two EC155s, while another six Bell 412s and three EC155s will be acquired by 2009.

Global Vectra projects that the helicopter market will grow by about 25% over the next two years due to a boom in the Indian oil drilling sector, which is driven by a combination of high global energy prices and increased demand within the country to fuel its burgeoning economy.

For example, state-owned gas exploration company, Oil & Natural Gas plans to drill 6 billion tonnes of oil in the next 10 years. Much of that is in offshore fields where Global Vectra is able to capitalise, as all of its helicopters are equipped for offshore operations, says Saighal.

Source: Flight International