British International Helicopters to close Redhill base

British International Helicopters to close Redhill base

16-Mar-2016 Source: can confirm that British International Helicopters (BIH) are closing their base at Redhill. Staff at the base south of London were informed at the end of February that they were losing their jobs, and we understand that the moving process has already begun. Typical commercial leases in the UK run to “quarter days”, the next of which comes up on 25th March. It is thought that this is likely to be the target closure date.

There are no planned changes at the BIH at Coventry, where the Airport is owned by Regional & City Airports (RCA). Both BIH and RCA are part of Rigby Group plc. We understand that most, or all, of the tools, equipment & company aircraft are moving from Redhill to Coventry.

BIH operates in two distinct parts. The onshore division – known as BIH (Onshore) Ltd – is principally engaged in the maintenance and operation of light helicopters. Commercial flying is through Air Operators Certificate 2250 which includes AS350, AS355, EC135, BK117 and R22 helicopter types.  The acquisition of London Helicopter Centres in December 2009 by Rigby Group added bases at Redhill and Enniskillen to their portfolio, although they no longer operate from the latter location.  The BIH name was a 2013 branding exercise to bring London Helicopter Centres , Patriot Aviation and Veritair under one banner.   Patriot Aviation operated from Coventry, and is the location the Redhill operation is now moving to.  Patriot was an acquisition by Rigby Group in 2002, and previously also operated from Cranfield, Gloucestershire and Halfpenny Green airfields.

In April 2012, Rigby Group bought Welsh operator Veritair, which used to operate from and manage Cardiff Heliport. That location was closed for operations on 30th November 2014.

The Patriot Aerospace division of Rigby Group also owned Heliflight UK between 2009 and 2012.  Patriot Aerospace continues to be the parent of fixed wing operator Capital Air Charter, which was acquired in 2014.  The BIH (Onshore) Ltd AOC is also used by The London Helicopter for their pair of sightseeing AS350s over the UK capital city, according to that company’s website

The offshore operations of BIH are based out of Newquay with two Dauphins for the Royal Navy, and Sikorsky S61s for a Royal Air Force transport contract in the Falkland Islands. These will be soon joined by a pair of SAR AgustaWestland AW189s to form one larger contract operated by BIH on behalf of contract holders AAR. Operations are flown on Air Operators Certificate 1381 in the name of British International Helicopter Services Ltd, which includes AW189 and S61N. The Dauphins are not included on the AOC as they are flown under Civil Owned Military Registered (COMR) rules and thus not on a civilian registration.

An enquiry to British International Helicopters head office from was not responded to.  However, staff at BIH Redhill did confirm the closure to us.

Jeremy Parkin –

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