With the introduction of two new aircraft – an AgustaWestland AW139 and Airbus H135 – a first for this country, it would transform the aviation industry into one which is a model of safety and enterprise par excellence.
General Manager of the National Helicopter Services Limited (NHSL) Capt Homer Solomon made the comments yesterday, adding the organisation was ready and able to assist Government in rationalising and streamlining all its aviation assets.
Solomon made the remarks at the media launch yesterday of two new aircraft at NHSL’s Heliport, at Camden, Couva.
“We are a significant earner of foreign exchange and do so without fanfare or expectation. But, we know that these are difficult times. We do not shy away. We need to grow the business to ensure sustainability and relevance,” he told the gathering.
The Agusta Westland AW139, is now the most sought-after offshore helicopter in the energy sector, Solomon said. Some of its features include larger windows providing easier emergency egress and powerful engines improving single-engine safety during take-off and landing as well as speed and range.
“The AirBus EC135, is a proven light twin helicopter carrying up to six passengers. This will complement the larger 12 passenger aircraft, is ideal for pipeline surveys and with a reduced footprint, can land on smaller platforms,” he added.
Solomon charged that over the years, NHSL has provided significant disaster relief. Some of these include the volcano eruption in Montserrat during June 1997, Hurricane Ivan and Grenada in 2004 and more recently, Barbuda and Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricanes Jose and Maria.
Among those in attendance at the launch yesterday were: Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, chairman of NHSL Larry McIntosh, director general of TT Civil Aviation Authority Francis Regis and director of corporate services Ricky Herbert.
Sinanan said the “magnificent machines” could land in the most treacherous of terrains offering exclusive access and exposure to areas that would otherwise remain untouched.
He praised NHSL for offering “unique, extraordinary and safe services” some of which included delivering staff in the energy industry to their off-shore stations; assisting national security forces, inclusive of disaster and emergency response; and transporting the sick for critical care.
“Today we are here to witness the expansion of their ability to meet the demand of their ever-growing roster of clients. I am delighted that NHSL has invested in and acquired two new aircraf that will no doubt facilitate their capacity to dominate an even larger share of the market not just within Trinidad and Tobago but the wider region.”
The aircraft are expected to go into service by December 1.