The proposed Aviation Center of Excellence would provide maintenance support, spares, training and design/development services to Sikorsky, Gulf and other commercial and governmental aircraft owners and operators in the Middle East region. This would include the establishment and management by Sikorsky and Gulf through the Aviation Center of Excellence of a fleet management operations center to provide logistical support as well as local inventory of Sikorsky and other aircraft manufacturer's spare parts.
In addition, the Aviation Center of Excellence would establish and operate a customer support center which would enable it to perform organizational, intermediate and various levels of depot level maintenance on rotary and fixed wing aircraft. Both parties will discuss Sikorsky's conveyance, through structured training and educational initiatives and co-participation in design/development projects of aerospace design and support technology and know-how to employees of Gulf and/or the Center of Excellence.
"The Middle East has become a significant region for the S-92® and S-76® helicopters and Sikorsky is excited about the potential for joint efforts with Gulf Helicopter as we explore this Aviation Center of Excellence," said Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino. "We look forward to the opportunities this MOU creates for future cooperation."
In addition to the MOU signing, Sikorsky and Gulf Helicopter signed a contract for a second of two S-92 VVIP aircraft. The first S-92 helicopter entered service in the Gulf region in 2006.
Prior to the Qatar contract, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea selected the S-92 for head-of-state service.
The S-92 helicopter continues to perform at a high operational tempo with the fleet recently passing 43,000 total flight hours. In addition to executive transport, the multi-mission, medium S-92 helicopter is used in a variety of roles including offshore oil, search and rescue, and airline.
The S-92 is the first helicopter in the world certified to the latest U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Joint airworthiness safety standards. The S-92 features a Rotor Ice Protection System, which allows the aircraft to operate in known icing conditions. RIPS has been certified by both North American and European aviation authorities and is available on S-92 military variants as well as commercial aircraft.
Sikorsky also has delivered several S-76C++TM helicopters into the region. In addition, Sikorsky is developing the S-76DTM helicopter, which will include all composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades, Rotor Ice Protection System, an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot, and many other features. The S-76D is on track for certification in late 2009.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Connecticut, USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building industries.
Gulf Helicopters Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum, a company fully owned by the government of the State of Qatar. Gulf Helicopters has been providing helicopter services since 1970 and has worked with nearly all of the major oil, construction and survey companies throughout the Middle East, India and North Africa. Gulf Helicopters currently has operational bases in Qatar and India, where the company has long-term commitments.
Gulf has a diversified fleet of helicopters and are experienced in Offshore Operations VFR & IFR, Onshore Transport, Seismic Support, Load Lifting both Short & Long Line. A wide range of ancillary equipment is also available to meet with specific operational requirement.
Gulf Helicopters is currently flying approximately 17,668 hours per annum, its annual aviation revenue has grown over the years and its current turnover is approximately U.S.Dollars 50 Millions per annum. Gulf Helicopters has recently been accredited with ISO 9001-2000 certifications by Intertek for Quality System for management of helicopter transportation, maintenance and associated services.