Group eyes North Sea push as it reorganises after shedding cargo and simulator arms

Schreiner Aviation Group of the Netherlands is to acquire up to six new aircraft next year as it pushes to expand its offshore oil and gas support operations. The company, based near Amsterdam, will also restructure to focus exclusively on oil and gas support operations after closing its loss-making cargo unit and selling its simulator business.

Schreiner's North Sea operations will need another Sikorsky S-76B this year and could also add a Eurocopter AS365N3. Schreiner may also expand its operations in Norwegian and UK sectors of the North Sea, as the large oil companies have "expressed a desire" to see a third competitor in the markets, which are dominated by CHC Scotia and Bristow Helicopters.

This may be followed by an additional four aircraft next year, says chief executive Hein Verloop, as the company expects to win fixed-wing and helicopter contracts in Brazil, Indonesia and Iran in 2003. The new purchases will complement replacement aircraft on order, including other Sikorsky types and a Bombardier Dash 8 turboprop.

The refocus on oil and gas is part of a wider shareholder-led business reorganisation, says Frits Hooft, chief operating officer. The company made an operating loss last year of c31.7 million ($29.6 million), largely through its cargo division and wet leases to former Belgian flag carrier Sabena. Both divisions have been shut, while training was sold to CAE. Other activities, including aerial target production, cable manufacturing and helicopter dealerships, could also be disposed of in the future.

Source: Flight International