UK on-shore air support and maintenance provider Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) is looking to expand its offshore service provision portfolio to exploit the burgeoning demand for aerial support around the globe.

The 25-year-old, privately-owned company had focused exclusively on on-shore air operations until 2010, through its Police Aviation Services and Medical Aviation Services subsidiaries.

"Last year we won the contract from [maintenance provider] Trinity House to transport technicians and equipment to about 50 remote lighthouses around the English and Welsh coasts," said SAS sales and marketing director Nigel Lemon.

"We have invested heavily to support this contract.

SAS MD Explorer,

 © Dan Thisdell/Flightglobal

This SAS-supplied MD Explorer was a Helitech highlight

"Our helicopters, for example, have a range of safety equipment including floats, deployable beacons and underwater emergency egress lighting.

"Also, our pilots have undergone underwater emergency training too. It makes sense therefore to build on this investment and look for other contracts within the offshore environment."

The Cheltenham-based company has the largest fleet of MD Explorers in the world, with 10 of the types in service, and looks after 20 other helicopters on behalf of clients, including many UK police forces and air ambulance providers. It also offers third-party completions and maintenance to operators around the world.

Earlier this month the firm secured a contract from Luxembourg Air Rescue, to maintain its six Explorers. "We are not going to compromise our on-shore operation," Lemon said. "We have built up a very strong and profitable business, which has been stable and successful throughout the downturn. Our contracts are long-term and our customers are not as exposed to these economic cycles, like charter operators are for example."

SAS is not looking at the oil and gas offshore transportation market, but is hoping to secure other offshore utility work and extra lighthouse support contracts around the UK, as they come up for renewal.

Source: Flight International