MONTREAL, July 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. (TSX:
CHL.A, CHL.B) (the "Company"), an international provider of helicopter
transportation and related support services, announced today that its
wholly-owned subsidiary, Helicopters Australia Pty Limited ("HNZ"), has
entered into an agreement with Rio Tinto for a renewed contract for an
extended period with new helicopters.
Beginning in March 2013, HNZ will replace its existing two Eurocopter EC
145 helicopters currently on contract, with the first of three new
AgustaWestland AW109SP "GrandNew" helicopters. The helicopters will
continue to provide a Marine Pilot transfer service to Rio Tinto's iron
ore carriers at Dampier and Cape Lambert Ports in West Australia. The
addition of a third helicopter will provide additional capacity for Rio
Tinto's expansion plans at Cape Lambert. All three helicopters will be
in service by September 2013.
HNZ has provided this service to Rio Tinto from its Karratha Base
continuously since 1992. Throughout this time HNZ has, with the support
of Rio Tinto, developed a world class Marine Pilot Transfer service
utilising the latest technologies and operating systems, and provides
for safe, reliable services to this important industry for the
Australian economy. The introduction of the AW109SP "GrandNew" will
provide a best in class aircraft and service to Rio Tinto.
The new contract is for a 10 year period starting May 1, 2013 and will
replace the existing agreement scheduled to expire on the same date.
Revenues under the contract during the term are expected to be a
minimum of AU$125 million (excluding annual escalations), an increase
of AU$11 million over the current contract. The three aircraft required
to perform the work will be obtained by way of purchase or lease and
the two existing EC145 aircraft will be redeployed or offered for sale
following the successful introduction of the new aircraft in 2013.
Canadian Helicopters Group's President and CEO, Don Wall, said: "We are
extremely pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Rio
Tinto in Western Australia. In partnership with Rio Tinto, we have
continuously sought ways to improve customer service and safety
standards. This new investment in the latest technology AW109SP
"GrandNew" aircraft signifies those shared commitments and we look
forward to continuing to support the expansion of iron ore operations
throughout Western Australia."
ABOUT CANADIAN HELICOPTERS GROUP INC.
Canadian Helicopters Group is an international provider of helicopter
transportation and related support services with fixed primary
operations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and regions of Southeast
Asia. The group also delivers contracted on demand support in
Afghanistan and Antarctica. Charter operations are provided under two
brands: Helicopters New Zealand (HNZ) in the Asia Pacific and
Antarctica regions and Canadian Helicopters Limited (CHL) in Canada and
Afghanistan. In addition to charter services, the Company provides
flight training and third party repair and maintenance services. With
headquarters near Montreal, Canada, the Company operates approximately
140 helicopters and employs approximately 800 personnel.
This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to the
purchase and divestiture of aircraft and the future contractual
relationship between the Company and Rio Tinto and in particular with
respect to expected revenues and duration of such relationship.
Forward-looking statements, specifically those concerning future
performance, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual
results may differ materially. Consequently, readers should not place
any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. In addition,
these forward-looking statements relate to the date on which they were
made. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or
revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise unless being required by
SOURCE Canadian Helicopters Group Inc.
For further information:
Canadian Helicopters Group Inc.
President and Chief Executive Officer