7-Oct-2013 Source: HeliHub.com
Bristow Group have decided to close operations in Alaska, where they currently operate three bases at Fairbanks, Valdez, and Deadhorse. In a recent statement to employees, SVP of Global Operations Jeremy Akel cited the seasonal nature of the work there as being a factor, along with “providing services that are not aligned with [the company’s] desire to be the best offshore helicopter operator globally “.
Three key contracts are affected, and the company will fly each to their expiry date. The ConocoPhilips contract has already run off as it expired in late September just after the internal announcement, while the contract with Pioneer expires in December, and the Alyeska contract which terminates on 31 May 2014.
The contract with Pioneer Natural Resources started in January 2006 and consists of one Bell 412. From an initial four year deal, further shorter term renewals have followed of up to 12 months at a time.
The Alyseka contract has been held by Bristow Alaska (and its predecessor Air Logistics of Alaska) since 1981, and the latest contract renewal from 1st June 2007 saw them operating five helicopters – one Bo105, two 407s and two 206L3s – requiring twenty pilots and engineers. Missions included flying security personnel along the pipeline, operations and maintenance activities, and oil-spill response. The operating environment covered everything from offshore rigs to 6,000ft snowy peaks and a temperature range of -40F to +85F (-40C to +30C). Flying took place from five locations along the entire 800-mile-long Trans Alaska Pipeline System.
William P Johnson – HeliHub.com US correspondent