Management of Bristow Helicopters has said that its fleet of Sikosky aircraft are well-maintained in its entirety in Nigeria by local engineers and the airline’s technical partners, taking care of all the various levels of checks an aircraft goes through.
This is just as the airline has said that over the years it has trained no fewer than 270 pilots and engineers from Nigeria to enable seamless succession and transfer of technical expertise to grow the airline in all ramification.
Addressing the media, Vice President, Global Operations Bristow Group, Mike Imlach said that maintenance of the airline’s fleet is carried out thoroughly and that the airline is one of the few that carries out its maintenance checks totally by itself.
Imlach said,” We started flying yesterday and have started flying our clients to Port Harcourt and Abuja on the Sikosky S-76 aircraft that has complied with the NCAA’s comprehensive audit. I want to say that we are a safe airline and follow all our safety procedures. We do all our maintenance in the country and we are one of the few airlines that do not take our aircraft out of the country for checks.”
He said that all maintenance was done in compliance with the manufacturer’s directive.
Also speaking with NFD, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, John Cloggie said that the airline over the years has embarked on training Nigerian pilots and engineers.
According to him, of the 270 trained so far, Bristow Group has trained 150 pilots and 120 engineers stating that training was ongoing.
He said,” We take on the pilots or the pilots that apply to Bristow that have come out of colleges and university normally and all they need is their Private Pilot Licence (PPL), we then take them across to Florida, put them through all the basic training in Florida and once they are qualified they come back here and fly as co-pilots and then over a number of years they get additional training and eventually become captains.”
“Now we have for a number of years trained 150 pilots and then for engineers, the training has taken two routes, we used to take them to the United Kingdom and now recently we send them to the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, they do their basic training there and then they come back here and then they complete their training and once they are trained and qualified they will go to places like Sirkosky for courses so they can get specific training on the aircraft type,” Cloggie said.
Also speaking on the maintenance of the aircraft, Vice President and Chief Safety Officer, Environment, Health and Safety Sikosky, George Klug said that the aircraft type was being thoroughly maintained and that he could fly the aircraft to anywhere at any time to show how much confidence he has on the Sikosky fleet.
On the return to operation of the Sikorsky, the airline thanked the NCAA for conducting a thorough audit of all 15 of its S-76 fleet and thanked its clients for its unwavering support and steadfastness during the time the suspended fleet was not flying but said they still had other aircraft that they operated.