Bristow Helicopters has invested in new aircraft operating out of Aberdeen, and developed a new fixed-wing passenger terminal designed to improve conditions for offshore workers heading to work in the North Sea.
The development of the new fixed-wing terminal at the Forties Road heliport complex coincides with the introduction of two additional Leonardo AW189 aircraft, boosting Bristow’s fleet flying from the city.
Plans for the development of the terminal, for passengers flying via Eastern Airways to Scatsta and Sumburgh, were unveiled in May and, following approval from Aberdeen City Council, taken forward in fewer than three months before opening.
Passengers arriving at the new facilities have access to modern check-in and baggage desks, along with a large, comfortable waiting area including pool table, IT pod, and a café operated by the owners of the Spotty Bag Shop, in Banff.
Matt Rhodes, director of Bristow Helicopters’ UK operations, said the investment in facilities had been made to provide greater comfort for its passengers and flight crews.
“The heliport has been in continuous use for more than 40 years and in our view, maximising the use of our existing property by creating an additional terminal in what was a former hangar is an excellent example of what can be done within the limitations brought about by the lower-for-longer oil price,” said Mr Rhodes.
“We have invested in our fleet to ensure that we are able to maintain a consistently punctual service in the North Sea, and the facilities to ensure that passengers are more comfortable when heading to or coming home from one of the harshest working environments in the world.”
Louise Hall, UK Service Delivery & Standards Manager, led the project to redevelop the hangar, which was completed and opened to passengers in 11 weeks.
“We have a significant number of passengers who travel to and from our base by aeroplane, in addition to our core Central North Sea helicopter programme,” she said.
“The most important aspect of the works was I wanted it to be different and not to feel like any other airport, it needed to have a homier feel while having all the facilities you expect from a modern departure lounge.
“It started off as a sketch I’d drawn over an old plan of the hangar, which was then translated into a proper proposal by Lucy MacKenzie from GWS Architects, who worked to a very tight deadline and delivered exactly what I had envisioned.
“Considering the tight schedule, the standard of work our contractors, North Offshore Ltd, produced is superb – they took the challenge on and delivered on time, even with some late creative changes to the interior fitout.
“The passenger experience is a key part of our service delivery and the terminal enables us to provide greater space and comfort to passengers in this area, and those in our existing heliport lounges, where improvements have also been made.”
The new terminal handles all of Bristow Helicopters’ fixed-wing customers, with expanded, modern lounge space.
“Bringing the Spotty Bag Shop in as an additional catering partner has also been a great success as the team has focussed on producing fresh, home-cooked meals, sandwiches and snacks, giving the hundreds of passengers traveling through daily a wider choice of good quality refreshments,” adds Louise Hall.
“Being able to support a local business by giving them an opportunity, and the autonomy to run the facilities their way after they had proved their ability to run with the concept, has been a significant enhancement to the new terminal.”