Caverton Helicopters Limited has unveiled a fleet of new helicopters following its recent selection as the air transport provider for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Chevron Nigeria Limited Joint Venture based in Escravos.
The firm was last year awarded a five-year logistics support contract by the CNL, operator of the NNPC/CNL JV, for the provision of aviation services with a two-year renewable option.
To celebrate the fleet upgrade, the firm hosted a business luncheon at its Executive Flight facility at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos where the new helicopters to be used for the contract were unveiled.
According to the firm, the new fleet of aircraft includes the state-of-the-art Bell 407 GXP incorporating new avionics, an upgraded engine, new executive interior design options and fitted with Rolls-Royce M250-C47E/4 dual channel turbine engine; and the industry workhorse Bell 412 EP, aircraft known to perform well even in inimical climatic conditions.
The firm said both helicopter types were equipped with a variety of safety features such as rupture resistance fuel cells, wire strike protection system, vibration and engine monitoring systems as well as flight data monitoring.
The Chairman, Caverton Offshore Group, Mr. Remi Makanjuola, described the new fleet of helicopters as a feat that Nigeria and Nigerian should be proud of.
He said, “This is a day that the aviation industry should be proud of that a Nigerian went to America to acquire 11 helicopters. This is a groundbreaking event.
“Over the past few years, we went through many phases of development as a company in less than favorable circumstances. Nevertheless, we have been able to operate existing contracts successfully, as well as secure a few new contracts.”
According to him, the addition of the helicopters to the company’s fleet will make it one of the largest operators of Bell products in sub-Saharan Africa.
Makanjuola also stated that Caverton was fast-tracking the national content policy by ensuring that more Nigerians were trained and given the pride of place in recruitment into high technician management positions.
“To diversify our business activities, we are building a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Lagos, which we plan to make operational in early 2019. Once completed, all the helicopters in our fleet, as well as aircraft from third-party operators, will be maintained in the country, thus saving time and foreign exchange,” he said.
The Director, NNPC/CNL JV, Mr. Monday Ovuede, said Caverton’s unveiling of 11 helicopters marked an expansion of the company in Nigeria, and the manifestation of its resilience to ensure that aviation industry became enviable.
The Managing Director, Sales, Middle East and Africa, Bell Helicopters, David Sale, said the firm was happy to partner Caverton, having been in Nigeria since 1964.
“Our plan is to pick and deliver over 800 passengers every day; we will ensure zero accident as we increase our efforts to protect our people. With over 50 years of doing business in Nigeria, I assure you that we will be here in the next 50 years,” he said.