Paris Air Show: New lease of life for the H225
While the market ‘still has a long way to go to get back to where it was’, told Ed Washecka, CEO of Waypoint, told Shephard that the outlook was ‘generally positive’.
Commenting on new trends, Washecka highlighted two aircraft models that have seen recent increases in demand: the S-76 and, somewhat more surprisingly, the H225.
Waypoint has recently received a number of S-76 aircraft from CHC and in the last few months has replaced or renewed six aircraft to replace assets coming out of oil and gas and as additions to existing assets.
While acknowledging that much of the civil helicopter industry was still wrestling with the H225 following the April 2016 crash, Washecka did highlight growing interest in the model for non-oil and gas operations by various civil and military operators.
Although leases remain low for the H225, increasing demand is a good indicator of the long-term health of the platform outside of the oil and gas market.
The recent delivery of S-92 and S-76 airframes to Omni Taxi Aero is evidence of what Washecka described as a return to a ‘decent amount of activity’ in the Brazilian oil and gas industry.
Besides growth in Brazil, other South American nations such as Chile, Guyana and Peru offer opportunities for Waypoint to expand its presence in the non-oil and gas industries such as utilities and SAR.
Growing demand in the oil and gas industries across Australia, Norway and South East Asia represent further markets Waypoint is increasing its activity within.
With Waypoint currently operating in 31 countries, Washecka also mentioned the potential for future expansion in African markets where there seems to be a ‘good amount of opportunity’ despite the presence of significant challenges in the region, such as the need for qualified support on the ground.
Washecka concluded with a cautiously optimistic outlook for Waypoint, saying that whilst ‘it has been a difficult period for customers and remains challenging for some operators’, the company had demonstrated that it is a ‘group that is comfortable helping customers manage the reality of their business with flexibility’.
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