Last week, Eurocopter delivered the 100th EC225 medium twin to Bristow Group, highlighting the “special relationship” between the two companies. The 19-seat aircraft is earmarked for “a Bristow customer in Malaysia,” understood to be MHS Aviation; it is Bristow's 18th EC225. As of mid-July, the operator had logged a total of around 50,000 flight hours with its fleet, representing about one-third of the total flight time accumulated by the type worldwide. Bristow was the launch customer for the EC225 when it entered into service in 2005. Before that, it played the same role for the AS332L (again in the Super Puma family) in the early 1980s. Bristow will also be the launch customer for Eurocopter's next model, the EC175 16-seat medium twin.
Bristow's senior commercial VP Mark Duncan at the delivery
ceremony for the 100th Eurocopter EC225.
Eurocopter is seeing Bristow as a partner, thanks to the feedback the operator provides. This helps the manufacturer improve aircraft reliability, stated Ken Carter, Eurocopter's key account manager for Bristow. Decisions regarding equipment location in the cockpit and the cabin are another way Eurocopter processes the feedback from Bristow. As a result of the two companies working together, Eurocopter highly values the input and is happy that Bristow accepted to be the EC175's launch customer. A memorandum of agreement was signed in 2008 for five aircraft, with deliveries to start in 2012. Mark Duncan, Bristow's senior commercial vice president, confirmed his company's input “can be useful for design purposes.”
So what's next? Will Bristow have a say in the program to be launched from Eurocopter's X3 compound demonstrator, which promises to fly at 220 knots in an economical way? “We'll monitor that but it is very early—we still lack data to be in a position to buy,” Duncan said. More information will probably be available soon, as program launch is expected in 2012. At least, it should go in the right direction to meet oil and gas operators' needs in terms of increased radius of action.
Bristow's close ties with Eurocoper helps improve aircraft reliability.