PHI Group Orders 28 Airbus Helicopters for Offshore Work

Credit: Airbus

U.S. offshore helicopter operator PHI Group has placed an order for 28 medium and super-medium helicopters from Airbus.

In what is one of the first major orders from an oil-and-gas operator since a downturn in energy prices in 2015, PHI has signed a framework agreement that include commitments for 20 H175s and eight H160s.

The order is in response to growing demand for helicopters from energy companies after a resurgence in drilling and exploration driven by price increases and calls from governments for greater energy sovereignty and independence. Other oil and gas helicopter operators may follow suit.

For Airbus, the agreement is one of the largest orders yet placed for the H175, of which 54 aircraft are currently in service worldwide.

“This agreement is a component of our broader strategy to bring new technology into an industry that has experienced a strong rebound after years of underinvestment,” said Scott McCarty, PHI Group’s CEO.

The orders come four years after PHI entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a downturn in demand for offshore helicopters. PHI was the first oil-and-gas operator to adopt the H160 and had been testing the aircraft en route to proving exercises prior to the H160’s FAA certification in July. 

The H175 represents a new type in the the PHI stable.

Tony Osborne

Based in London, Tony covers European defense programs. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2012, Tony was at Shephard Media Group where he was deputy editor for Rotorhub and Defence Helicopter magazines.