PRESS RELEASE – 11 January 2018
Helijet and PHI enter into Sikorsky S-76C++ Fleet Upgrade Arrangement.
Richmond, B.C. Canada (January 11, 2018): Helijet International Inc. (“Helijet”) based in Richmond, B.C. Canada has entered into a Letter of Intent for the procurement and supply of up to six (6) newer model Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopters with PHI, Inc. (“PHI”) based in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA.
The companies have signed definitive agreements for the delivery and acceptance of the first three Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopters which will be prepared at PHI’s Lafayette maintenance facilities for delivery to Helijet during the first and second quarters of 2018.
PHI will tailor the aircraft to Helijet’s specifications, including a complete re-paint to company livery, avionics changes, and selected aircraft operating equipment prior to being added to Helijet’s fleet for scheduled and general charter operating services in Canada. Helijet will redesign and refurbish the 12-passenger cabin interiors of the three aircraft. Additional aircraft deliveries will be subject to respective Company board approvals.
Danny Sitnam, Helijet’s CEO stated: “Helijet has been planning its aircraft fleet expansion and upgrade for the past 24 months, and is now committed to bringing in newer, more advanced technology to the communities it serves. We are very pleased that we can accomplish this initiative in concert with an aviation world leader such as PHI.”
PHI’s Chief Commercial Officer, Dave Stepanek expressed: “It is an absolute pleasure to work with Danny and his team. Their long history operating the S-76 with an excellent passenger service operation makes participating in this fleet upgrade even more exciting. We know the level of professionalism at Helijet and know they will maintain and operate our S-76C++s to the highest industry standards.” Helijet and PHI are long-standing and experienced air operators utilizing the Sikorsky family of helicopters and will continue to work collaboratively to better accommodate their respective fleet rationalization in the ever-changing market place.
AgustaWestland AW139 Ornge C-GYNF … active rescue in Ontario region, May 2017.
ORNGE looks to sell off high-priced helicopter fleet.
Ontario’s air ambulance service asks for industry advice to replace fleet of AgustaWestland helicopters bought in 2008 for $120 million.
The AW139 helicopters had a troubled entry into service with ORNGE when it was revealed that a poor cabin design made it difficult for paramedics to tend to patients, including performing CPR.
Feb 12 2015 – Bruce Campion-Smith / The Toronto Star
OTTAWA—ORNGE is looking at selling its fleet of AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters, which stand as a reminder of a troubled and costly legacy at the air ambulance agency.
ORNGE bought 12 of the helicopters in 2008 for $148 million U.S. — even though only nine were needed — and Dr. Chris Mazza, the head of the agency at the time, cheered their arrival two years later.
But elements of the deal raised questions and now ORNGE is having a tinge of buyer’s remorse over the decision to purchase the twin-engine helicopters.
“It burns a lot of fuel. It’s a big airplane. It is costly to maintain because of the complexity of the machine, more costly than say a simpler machine,” said Dr. Andrew McCallum, president and CEO of ORNGE.
McCallum stressed in an interview with the Star that no decisions have been made to sell off the fleet.
Instead, he said the agency wants to know whether there are cheaper alternatives. He said the AW139s are more suited to flying to offshore oil platforms and that few other agencies use them in an air ambulance role.
“We have, I think, a duty to see if this is the right aircraft in these circumstances for us,” McCallum said.
ORNGE issued a request for information Thursday seeking industry advice on possible replacements for the fleet of helicopters that serve as the backbone of its air fleet.
The fleet of helicopters moved 3,125 of the some 8,000 patients that ORNGE transported last year by air and land.
ORNGE originally bought a dozen AW139 helicopters from European manufacturer AgustaWestland, including two fitted with seats for 12 passengers, meaning they couldn’t be used as air ambulances. Those two aircraft were sold in 2013 for a total of $20 million.
The other helicopters had a troubled entry into service when it was revealed that a poor cabin design made it difficult for paramedics to tend to patients, including performing CPR.
After ORNGE took delivery of the helicopters, AgustaWestland agreed to donate $2.9 million (U.S.) to ORNGE’s charitable foundation. Of that, $500,000 was spent on two custom-made motorcycles.
A special report by the Ontario auditor general detailed another payment to ORNGE by AgustaWestland for $4.8 million for marketing and other services.
“It’s hard to know what was in their minds,” McCallum said of the complicated deal.
These latest move comes after an extensive review of ORNGE’s operations, including the location of its bases and to ensure it had the “most efficient and appropriate aircraft that we fly.”
McCallum said the agency wants to hear back from industry within 45 days. He said ORNGE would hope to finance the purchase of 10 or 11 aircraft out of the proceeds from selling the AW139 helicopters, which he said could fetch about $10 million apiece.
McCallum said there are no immediate plans to close or relocate any of its bases across the province.
ORNGE also operates a fleet of 10 Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop aircraft to transport patients over longer distances. Those were bought at the same time as the AW139 helicopters in a $42-million (U.S.) deal, even though the agency’s own analysis said only six airplanes were needed. Two of those aircraft are now up for sale.