Thursday, November 12, 2015
As Offshore Wanes, Bristow Leans on SAR
Bristow Group’s U.K. SAR contract was one bright spot in the latest quarter’s financial performance. Steady growth in SAR work, recently acquired fixed-wing operations through Eastern Airlines and Airnorth, along with its ongoing economic restructuring efforts, all together managed to keep year-over-year quarterly revenues flat (excluding foreign exchange effects) despite an 8% decline in oil and gas revenues. Though it reported a 96% drop in quarterly total net income compared to this time last year, Bristow said in a second quarter FY16 earnings call that it was making additional capital expenditures toward rollout of its U.K. SAR contract—such as the purchase of additional S-92s and AW189s and the activation of new bases. Five of 10 planned bases are already live, and the company on Nov. 4 delivered one of two planned S-92s to the helicopter base at Prestwick Airport, set to begin operations in January 2016. Bristow in March 2013 was awarded the roughly $2.4 billion, 10-yr contract by the U.K.’s Department of Transport to be the first civilian operator ever to run all of the U.K.’s SAR operations. CHC initially won the bid, but lost it after it was revealed to have gained commercially sensitive information during the process. The resulting delay forced the award of a special Gap SAR contract in the summer of 2013 for Bristow to provide interim coverage from the Maritime Coastguard Agency's bases in Stonyaway and Sumburgh.