2-Jun-2016 Source: HeliHub.com
British operator Arena Aviation is well-known for its aerial filming work, and currently operates a fleet of six Airbus AS355s and one Robinson R44. Their customer list includes BBC, ITV, BT and Sky and they have full-livery AS355s for both BBC and Sky. Operations are based at Redhill Aerodrome, close to London’s Gatwick Airport.
Arena is expanding into passenger helicopter operations with the acquisition of two AW109E Power helicopters from the US. Both aircraft have had light use of around 200 hours a year from new and each are under 1800 hours total airframe time. Given the opportunities afforded by the closure of both Rotormotion and British International Helicopters at Redhill, Arena’s expansion into the passenger market is also complimentary to their fixed wing division Arena Jet. This sees three business jets based at Biggin Hill Airport, about 10 miles to the east of Redhill, two Cessna Citation XLS and one Canadair Challenger.
Passenger helicopter operations have been flown in the past by Arena, but very much as an occasional task, and often linked to filming work they were handling. The move now is very definitely into this type of operation, and there are no plans for either AW109 to have any filming kit installed.
Arena also operates a number of broadcast vehicles and is in the process of investing £20m (US$30M) in Ultra HD High Dynamic Range technology.
The first AW109 is already in the UK and currently flying on an N-registration, while the second in currently in shipment. They will take up G-RXTV and G-TXTV in the coming weeks and are expected on the Arena Air Operators Certificate within 30 days.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com