NHV, April 06, 2022 - Blackpool, UK – At the end of 2020, while COVID was putting most of the world into lockdown, NHV was expanding with a new base in Blackpool and bringing the AW169 into the UK Oil & Gas market.
There is an energy-rich stretch of the Irish Sea that hosts several offshore platforms, providing the UK with oil and gas, and Blackpool has become the ideal base for NHV’s offshore helicopter operations.
From our new base, NHV won the contract to provide passenger transfer services for Spirit Energy and later added ENI’s East Irish Sea operations.
Tom Freeman, Base Manager of Blackpool says, “2020 – 2021 was an interesting and challenging time to set up a new base and commence operations for our new clients. We are delighted that we managed to succeed and are going from strength to strength primarily due to our incredibly dedicated team who strive to deliver the best service for our clients.”
NHV is proud to have become the launch partner of the Leonardo AW169 aircraft in the UK Oil and Gas market, with the introduction of this latest helicopter type into our fleet. The AW169 was chosen as the optimal solution when performing the required services in the East Irish Sea, given the limitations of some of the offshore helidecks. This state-of-the-art aircraft is the latest generation twin-turbine helicopter, featuring class-leading performance and a versatile capability in the most demanding operating conditions.
The AW169 avionics system uses the very latest technology in the rotary-wing industry with its design entirely managed in-house by the helicopter manufacturer, Leonardo. The AW169 features the most modern platform in the light-intermediate category, incorporating very intuitive touch screens instead of control panels, making a huge weight and space-saving.
The Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) mode is a great feature, allowing us to run one engine without the rotor blades turning, providing electrical power to systems to allow for a safer and quieter turnaround when required Gareth Bithell, Chief Pilot at NHV Blackpool says, “The AW169 is a very capable aircraft in the offshore shuttle environment, and in poor conditions, as it is rated to sea state 6, it also has strong ditching capabilities and has flown in 60kt winds. At NHV, we find it can handle strong winds and turbulence with ease.”
With the pandemic challenging all business operations, NHV nevertheless enjoyed a successful 2021 and beginning of 2022, reaching over 1,550 flying hours with the AW169 from Blackpool, a huge milestone, while remaining as flexible as possible to support COVID flights, collecting offshore passengers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and safely bringing them back onshore.
About NHV Group: NHV Group, headquartered in Ostend Belgium, specialises in B-to-B helicopter services and has a strong geographic presence in Europe and Western Africa. The group conducts operations out of several bases on 2 continents with a team of +500 employees.
NHV’s main focus is on the energy-producing industry, including the Renewables sector. The scope of work also includes Maritime Services; Search and Rescue (SAR) and Harbour Pilot Services. Aside from the helicopter operations, NHV is an approved training organisation (ATO) and an official service centre for our partner Airbus Helicopters. NHV also provides maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) solutions.
In addition to supporting its fleet, NHV provides extensive third-party maintenance services to a variety of civil and military clients. The group has a multipurpose high-value fleet of around 40 helicopters. NHV’s majority shareholder is Ardian, the world-leading private investment house with assets of US$120bn managed or advised across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.
In 2014, NHV Group became the global launching customer of the Airbus H175 Helicopters. The first two H175s were operational by the end of December 2014 for Oil and Gas missions in Den Helder and The Netherlands.