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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Greenwich Buys into Helivia

By Chris Sheppard, Associate Editor

Summit Aviation parent company, Greenwich AeroGroup, has acquired an economic interest in Rio de Janerio-based Helivia Aero Taxi, marking the company’s entrance into the Brazilian market. Helivia services the oil and gas industry, flying missions to rigs as far out as 120-160 miles offshore, with a safety record that caught Greenwich’s attention, according to Gerry Goguen, executive vice president of Greenwich. “It has a 24-year history of operation with no accidents, with more than 200,000 hours of flight,” he said.

According to Greenwich CEO Jim Ziegler, as part of its 60 percent economic investment in Helivia—the maximum allowed for foreign investors in Brazil—the operator is adding four helicopters to the fleet, consisting of two Eurocopter BO105s for onshore flights and two Sikorsky S-76C+ variants for offshore missions, with plans to add a third S-76.

Goguen will be working with Helivia’s founder, Helio Ribeiro, to develop and implement business strategies to compete in the Brazilian market.

Ziegler stated that the company intends to modify Helivia’s current fleet of two BO105s and two S-76Cs from VIP configuration to offshore by adding seats, life rafts, converting windows to push-out windows, and installing emergency locator transmitters (ELTs).

Goguen said that the first step in the new partnership would be “evaluating safety programs” and whether there is a need to add AgustaWestland variants or more S-76s. “We need a larger fleet like our competitors [in the region],” said Goguen.

“The Brazilian oil and gas industry is booming and we see an opportunity to invest up to $50 million in Helivia over the next few years,” added Ziegler.

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