Avincis, August 07, 2013 - Bond Air Services (Bond) today welcomes the official opening of Greater Gabbard, one of the world's largest offshore wind farms, located 23km off the Suffolk coast.
Bond provides helicopter support to deliver maintenance technicians by hoist to the wind farm's 140 turbines - the first helicopter operation of its kind in the UK. The wind farm has a generation capacity of around 500MW, enough to power approximately 530,000 homes.
The service uses a Eurocopter EC135T2i aircraft, operating seven days a week from a purpose-built facility at Lowestoft Port. Bond has invested approximately £5m in the operation, which has also led to the creation of five new jobs in the local area.
Bond believes that using helicopters as part of offshore Wind Farm Operations & Maintenance strategy will enable wind farm operators and turbine manufacturers to benefit from increased availability than if they only relied on boats to transport staff offshore.
Stephen Rose, Offshore Wind Generation Manager at Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited, said: "Safety is our number one priority at all times so by using the helicopter it means that we can get greater access to our turbines safely and effectively, in conditions which may have been otherwise impossible by boat."
David Bond, Commercial Manager at Bond Air Services said: "We are delighted to be associated with Greater Gabbard and to be the chosen provider of rotary support. The operation is well-established now, reinforcing our position as the UK's market leader in the provision of helicopter services as well as laying the foundation for future expansion in the offshore renewables market."
About Bond Air Services:
Bond Air Services is the largest operator of air ambulance aircraft in the UK. Using mainly Eurocopter EC-135 helicopters it operates 26 aircraft from 23 bases around the UK, including two major maintenance facilities at Staverton and Glasgow. It is part of the Avincis Group, the world's leading provider of mission critical aviation services. Last year, Avincis companies flew over 108,500 hours, conducted over 50,600 emergency health care missions, rescued more than 8,600 people at sea or on mountains, helped to put out over 7,800 fires and carried more than 175,900 passengers in the Oil and Gas industries.
Avincis has a global footprint, which includes the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Ireland, Norway, Australia, Chile and Peru. The Group operates around 350 aircraft, employs almost 3,000 people worldwide and in 2011 had a turnover of €521 million (£421 million). The Group is headquartered in London.