Public Service

HAI Sikorsky Humanitarian Award Goes to New Zealand Operator for Work in 2016 Earthquake

By S.L. Fuller | December 16, 2017

Christchurch Helicopters Team Photo

Photo courtesy of Helicopter Association International

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management saw support and donations in the aftermath of the Nov. 14, 2016, earthquake. Civilian operators were answering the need for help. One of those operators was Christchurch Helicopters. For the work it did last year, Christchurch Helicopters is the 2018 winner of Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) Salute to Excellence Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award.

According to HAI, this award honors those who best demonstrate “the value of helicopters to the communities in which they operate by providing aid to those in need.”

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“Crews from Christchurch Helicopters were among the first to arrive in Kaikoura, a seaside tourist community that was completely cut off from the rest of the country,” HAI said. “Thousands of residents and tourists were stranded in an area with damaged infrastructure and no way of replenishing supplies. Within six hours, Christchurch Helicopters was transporting Urban Search and Rescue personnel to Kaikoura, and starting to rescue more than 130 stranded Chinese tourists.”

Christchurch Helicopters also worked with Civil Defense to coordinate the relief activities of several helicopter companies. According to HAI, services provided by Christchurch Helicopters and other operators was the “largest air brigade in New Zealand history.”

A few months following the earthquake, Christchurch Helicopter crews also saved lives and property in the Port Hills fires in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The award will be formally presented during Heli-Expo 2018 in Las Vegas.

Christchurch Helicopters offers several different services, including utility, charter, training and public service operations. According to its website, the company operates the Eurocopter/Airbus AS350 BA, AS355 F2 and EC120; the Guimbal Cabri G2; and the Robinson Helicopter Company R44.

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