Three of Switzerland's largest heavylift helicopter operators have formed a joint venture in a bid to expand into international markets.

Helog and Heliswiss are joining with Rotex from neighbouring Liechtenstein to launch Helog & Partner on 1 July, merging marketing and sales activities for the heavylift operations of each company. The venture will have access to a combined fleet of two Kamov Ka-32 A12s, two Eurocopter AS332C1 Super Pumas, three K-Max K-1200s and a single Mil Mi-26. Luzi Tischhauser, managing director of Heliswiss, says the aim of the grouping is to reduce duplication and increase efficiency. "Often all three companies can be in the same region with the same machines on the same day," he says. Merger talks, which began in 2002, could be extended to other operators eventually, he adds.

Helog & Partner will be headquartered in Küssnacht, near Lucerne, and have an estimated combined turnover of around SFr25 million ($20.2 million), says Tischhauser. Switzerland has one of the world's largest concentrations of heavylift helicopter operations, specialising in precise assembly and transport of heavy loads, logging, firefighting and emergency work. Tischhauser says the combined company receives around half of its revenues from operations within Switzerland, but it aims to expand in Australia, east Asia and Europe.



Source: Flight International