One of the world’s largest transport aircraft, the Antonov An-124, touched down at Darwin International Airport, carrying Babcock Australasia’s cargo of two Airbus H175 super-medium helicopters.
Costing approximately $20 million each, the H175 helicopters are the first of their kind to arrive in Australia and will be operated on contract from Dili, Timor-Leste by Babcock Offshore Services Australasia. Babcock is one of Australia’s largest providers of helicopter services to the oil and gas sector, as well as a world-class aviation training provider to premium brands around the globe.
“Babcock’s investment in two brand-new H175s is a first for Australia’s aviation industry and is evidence of our commitment to growing our mission critical capabilities. Right across the globe, Babcock is trusted to deliver high quality services that our clients expect, and we are delighted to be expanding our footprint in the region,” said John Boag, Managing Director of Babcock Offshore Services Australasia.
“Babcock is proud to be delivering two latest generation helicopters to our client and we are committed to ensuring maximum asset availability through the expertise of our people. Seeing them arrive in Darwin aboard one of the world’s largest transport aircraft is a bonus for aviation enthusiasts such as myself.”
Prior to deployment and the commencement of flying operations, Babcock engineers assembled the helicopters at the company’s Darwin hangar. Babcock has been working closely with Airbus in the lead-up to train 27 pilots and engineers in the assembly, flight and maintenance of the H175 helicopters. A further 19 Timorese were employed by Babcock, including four local engineers who attended training with Airbus in France in early 2018.
“This contract represents a significant capital investment in aircraft, infrastructure and training by Babcock and is the culmination of many months of planning, preparation and implementation,” said Mr Boag.
“Babcock has worked closely with Airbus to deliver training to our people, on the ground and in the air, that will ensure the safe and reliable assembly and operation of the new H175 helicopters for our client.”
The H175 was selected by Babcock as ‘best of type’ for the purpose of the contract, offering an excellent payload and superior single-engine performance. The H175 is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada’s latest PT6 engine – the PT6C67E – and can carry up to 16 passengers in an oil and gas configuration.
Babcock commenced operations on January 1st, 2018 with its contract encompassing personnel transportation, search and rescue support, and medevac in the Timor Sea, 500km northwest of Darwin.