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Bristow Helicopters Invests in Eastern Airways

February 06, 2014

Bristow Helicopters Ltd has made a strategic investment acquiring a 60 percent interest in Eastern Airways International Ltd.

Eastern Airways will continue to operate as normal, independently from Bristow, and under its own brand led by the current management team.

This formalised agreement builds on a strong relationship between Bristow and Eastern Airways that dates back to 1999. The investment is a natural outcome of the history of the two businesses working together.

Both companies have strong safety management systems and share the same ethos. The businesses have been recognised by clients and the aviation and helicopter transport industries for their focus on safe operations. They have state-of-the-art maintenance, repair and logistics support systems.

Mike Imlach, Bristow Helicopters Limited’s Managing Director, said: “Bristow and Eastern Airways serve many of the same customers. Our business portfolios are highly complementary in terms of service offerings and geographic footprint. Through this investment, we can leverage our respective strengths to create a seamless experience for passengers traveling to offshore locations.

“The Bristow brand will benefit from alignment with a known and valued fixed wing operator. Together we will be able to capitalise on the respective strengths of both organisations, offer a broader range of services, pursue growth opportunities in new markets and geographies, invest in markets where we are currently well-positioned and become even stronger in these areas.”

Bryan Huxford, chairman of Eastern Group, said: “With Bristow making this strategic investment in Eastern, we believe that we can accelerate the success both companies have already achieved in the marketplace, which will strengthen and further develop our business and future opportunities.”

Eastern Airways was formed in 1997 and today operates more flights from Aberdeen than any other carrier. Its fleet of 30 aircraft provide frequent flights across the UK, Norway and France, including its core network of scheduled services to the North Sea offshore oil and gas industry. The airline also provides daily charter services for oil and gas industry customers employed by the companies that make up the Integrated Aviation Consortium (IAC).

Eastern Group will retain the 82.7 percent stake in Humberside Airport that it acquired in August 2012 and North Lincolnshire Council will retain its 17.3 percent shareholding.

Bristow will have a significant presence in Humberside, with its participation in Humberside Airport and the Search and Rescue (SAR) base that will be constructed.