The contract marks the entry into the oil and gas market of the H160 with a wealth of design features promising new levels of safety, comfort and schedule reliability in offshore operations.
The three companies — Airbus, PHI and Shell — are co-operating in a unique partnership. In a pioneering move, Airbus will provide one H160 ahead of final deliveries to PHI and Shell for a year-long route-proving program to enable the operator and the final customer to familiarize themselves with the type’s advanced features and mitigate the normal challenges around entry into service.
Joining a company fleet of H125s and H135s
At PHI it will be based at Houma, Louisiana and join a large company fleet of H125s and H135s deployed in emergency medical service throughout the US, as well as two H145s operating for Shell on pipeline survey work in Louisiana, and two H145s flying the world’s longest harbor pilot shuttle in Mackay, Australia.
Airbus Helicopters Executive Vice-President, Global Business, Ben Bridge, said: “We greatly appreciate the innovative thinking of our customers in formulating this partnership around the H160, which will begin a new era of safety, reliability and environmental performance in the medium class of offshore operations.”
Playing a key role in offshore sector
PHI Aviation Managing Director, Keith Mullett, added: “We are proud to be playing a key role in the entry into service of the highly advanced H160 in the offshore sector and we look forward to bringing a step change in operating standards through the confidence building route-proving exercise agreed with our partners Airbus and Shell.”
The H160 is powered by two of the latest Arrano engines from Safran Helicopter Engines and incorporates an embedded monitoring system and a redundancy of sensors, and can be maintained autonomously far from base. The design emphasizes robust corrosion defense specifically envisaging offshore missions.