partnership with new offshore helicopter service provider takes off
On 4 January, crews from Chevron Upstream Europe’s (CUE) Alba and Captain Field’s in the Central North Sea commenced offshore flights with new service provider NHV Group.
Over the course of two weeks more than 1000 employees and contractors boarded a series of new Airbus H175 helicopters, at NHV’s new heliport base in Aberdeen, to kick off their 2016 work schedule. We catch up with a number of employees to hear their first impressions of the new service.
“A lot of the crew had previously flown with NHV in 2014 when they supported the business unit with aircraft from Wick John O’Groats airport during the grounding of the EC225 aircraft. During this we received excellent service and if our first flight out of Aberdeen is anything to go by the standard of service remains,” said James Howitt, Captain Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel offshore installation manager (OIM).
The H175 aircraft now being used by CUE has an exemplary safety performance record and is a new super medium 16 seat helicopter to operate in the UK North Sea.
The aircraft design is based on the requirements of offshore oil and gas companies and their passengers. These new aircraft have the largest cabin size (volume) per passenger) and largest window surface per passenger on the market, and all have a new individual seating arrangement, minimised noise and vibration, as well as in-built floatation devices.
In December last year, CUE worked with NHV to arrange visits to each of our Alba and Captain facilities, to ensure that the workforce became familiar with the H175 aircraft before this service became effective on 1 January.
Martin McCormack, OIM on CUE’s Alba Northern Platform (ANP), picks up the story: “The visit to our facilities provided a great opportunity to view the new aircraft and hold discussions with the NHV senior pilot. After the deck crew and safety reps had viewed the safety aspects of the aircraft we opened up the visit to the entire platform, with a great uptake from the crew. To date, feedback has been very positive, with many surprised by the space and impressive air speeds – just 30 minutes from the heliport to the ANP.”
“During the visit to the Captain Wellhead Protector Platform (WPP), the pilots, once the tour of the aircraft was complete, visited the radio room to get a better understanding of what equipment CUE use to feedback the sea state and the weather conditions. They also had lunch with some of the platform crew and took the opportunity to get to know the workforce they will be carrying to and from our facilities,” added John Caldwell, OIM on Captain WPP.
With the service now effective, CUE’s offshore crews are using NHV’s new dedicated heliport facility located at the north east corner of Aberdeen Dyce airport. “The location and design of the heliport means distances to the runways are short and with no main runway requiring crossing the taxiing time is expected to be reduced – helping support our business unit’s drive for efficient and effective logistics operations,” added George Graham, Base Business Operations Support manager.
The heliport complex comprises a 2,400m2 hangar and offices, a passenger terminal with check-in, X-ray, security, safety equipment storage and issue, and safety briefing rooms. On the ground floor of the complex there is a general waiting area and on the upper floor a dedicated passenger lounge with catering facilities provided by a local supplier.