TORONTO and MONTREAL, Sept. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Ornge and Canadian
Helicopters Income Fund (TSX: CHL.UN) (the "Fund") announced today that they
have reached an agreement in principle that will result in the renewal of
their relationship for a period of three years with the potential of an
additional two years. This agreement in principle is subject to, among other
things, the execution of definitive agreements which is anticipated to occur
later this fall as well as to various third party consents. Ornge, a
charitable organization, operates one of the largest aero medical and land
transport programs in North America. The definitive agreements would be
entered into between Ornge and the Fund's subsidiary, Canadian Helicopters
Limited ("CHL"). Ornge recently announced its intention to transition its
rotary wing operations from a third-party fleet to an Ornge-owned fleet
through the purchase of 10 new AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters.
Key provisions of the agreement in principle are as follows:
- Ornge's current rotary wing transport medicine service involves the
operation of 11 medium category Sikorsky S-76 helicopters (owned by
CHL) from seven bases in Ontario. The agreement in principle will also
involve the transfer of aviation related assets at fair market value.
- In late 2010, the 11 Sikorsky S-76 aircraft are scheduled for
replacement by Ornge over an approximate two-year period coinciding
with the delivery of its 10 new state of the art AgustaWestland
- CHL will provide services in support of Ornge's transport medicine
operation for a period of three years starting April 1, 2009 (and a
potential two year extension at Ornge's option). CHL will continue to
provide flight operations, maintenance, airworthiness and related
support for Ornge's fleet of helicopters.
- Terms and pricing between Ornge and CHL will be changed effective
April 1, 2009 to reflect a different risk model, reflecting recognition
of the transfer of assets from CHL to Ornge and in order to address
specifics of the approximate two-year transition period referred above.
"We are confident CHL's extensive experience and commitment will assist
us in providing Ontario residents with high quality transport medicine
services," said Dr. Chris Mazza, Ornge president and Chief Executive Officer.
"We are excited to continue our partnership with Ornge, a world leader in
Transport Medicine, and are very pleased that we have been awarded this
contract following an extensive and competitive bid process. We are also
extremely pleased for the opportunity to become the largest operator in Canada
of the new generation AgustaWestland AW139 aircraft," added Don Wall, CHL's
senior executive vice-president.
Ornge operates from a number of bases across the province of Ontario and
performs approximately 18,000 admissions annually. It coordinates all aspects
of Ontario's aero medical transport system, the new critical care land
transport program, and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers
between hospitals. Ornge is dedicated to the provision of high quality patient
care through innovative transport medicine.
ABOUT CANADIAN HELICOPTERS INCOME FUND
Through Canadian Helicopters Limited, Canadian Helicopters Income Fund is
the largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada and
one of the largest in the world based on the size of its fleet. From over
40 base locations across Canada, Canadian Helicopters provides helicopter
services to a broad range of sectors, including emergency medical services,
infrastructure maintenance, utilities, oil and gas, forestry, mining and
construction. In addition to helicopter transportation services, Canadian
Helicopters operates three flight schools and provides third party repair and
maintenance services. With over 60 years of experience, Canadian Helicopters
is an industry leader in establishing safety standards and operating
CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to the
future of the contractual relationship between Canadian Helicopters and Ornge.
Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and
uncertainties, and actual results or events may differ materially.
Consequently, readers should not place any undue reliance on such
In particular, the agreement in principle is subject to execution of
definitive agreements governing the terms of such agreement and various third
party consents. The parties may fail to agree on the terms of definitive
agreements in which case the contract renewal could be subject to
modification; alternatively, CHL could even lose such contract to competitors.
Failure to enter into definitive agreements could have a material adverse
effect on the Fund.
The forward-looking statements relate to the date on which they were
made. The Fund 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 applicable laws.
For further information:
For further information: Jennifer Tracey, Director, Corporate
Communications, Ornge, (416) 669-7074; Jean-Pierre Blais, President, Canadian
Helicopters Limited, (450) 452-3007; Don Wall, Senior Executive
Vice-President, Canadian Helicopters Limited, (780) 429-6919