Local content gains as Omni Helicopters Nigeria debuts

By Wole Oyebade   |   03 February 2017   |   4:36 am  

Omni Helicopters Nigeria

The plight of unemployed pilots in the country is set for an upswing as Omni Helicopters Nigeria launches into the offshore market with local content development plan.

Omni Helicopters Nigeria, which emerged from a strategic joint venture between Omni Helicopters International (OHI) and Omni Blu Aviation Limited, brings to the aviation sector technical expertise, access to aircraft and improved safety, leveraging on the available manpower.

Courtesy of the local content development agenda, more unemployed pilots will be further trained in advanced helicopter operations and engaged for the new offshore operations.

Managing Director of Omni Blu, Capt. Sunny Adegbuyi, at the signing of partnership with Omni Helicopters International, said the joint venture was crafted to meet the more demanding oil and gas producers’ standards in offshore aviation as well as local content requirements in Nigeria.

The strategic alliance, Adegbuyi said, will help requalify Nigerian offshore aviation by accessing resources that will lead to the introduction of new aircraft technologies and safety systems, in turn boosting investment, training and formation.

He said: “This will benefit the broader Nigerian aviation sector and impact the overall economy by elevating local capabilities and promoting increased employment, professional development and sustainable competition.”

Adegbuyi added that at a time when aviation companies are divesting and pulling out of the industry, OHI has demonstrated its faith and confidence in the aviation policy of the present administration.

“We are delighted to partner with one of the world’s best helicopter operators at a critical time for Nigerian offshore aviation. We aim to meet the rising demands of this market with a unique balance of operational strengths and local content.

“We have known the founders of OHI for two decades and hold them in high esteem. OHI’s achievements in Brazil, the world’s fastest-growing offshore aviation market, are testament to the capabilities of our partner,” he said.

Founder of OHI, Capt. Rui Almeida, lauded the partnership with Omni Blu, as part of the efforts at developing a safe and reliable offshore aviation market in Nigeria.

Almeida noted that the current situation in Nigeria is similar to the environment OHI found itself in Brazil in 2006, when tightening regulations and substantially upgraded demands from oil and gas clients offered opportunities to new entrants.

“We succeeded by transferring know-how, granting access to assets and empowering local excellence. We are familiar with Nigeria, having operated there in the past, and understand the standards of oil and gas clients, having serviced many of these clients in Brazil already.

“We share the ethos and ambitions of our valued partner Omni-Blu, and are confident that this alliance will truly make a difference to the Nigerian offshore aviation market,” Almeida said.

Via the venture, Omni Helicopters Nigeria is to benefit from the fleet of 183 helicopters on the radar of OHI, with 10 already set to be deployed for use in the Nigerian market.

Chief Financier of the venture, Bolaji Odunsi, assured that the partnership is here to stay, adding that both organisations have been relating in the last four years to develop a sound business plan for the Omni Helicopters Nigeria.

Omni Blu is a leading independent provider of business aviation and cargo/passenger air transportation services in Nigeria. The company operates a fleet of fixed wing and rotorcraft units serving customers in onshore and offshore Nigeria, and is engaged in oil spill management and flight calibration services.

OHI is a Portugal-based investor in helicopter services, owning a modern fleet of helicopters and a number of shareholding participations in locally licensed helicopter operators. The company’s largest investment is OTA, Brazil’s leading offshore aviation services provider with c. 50 medium-equivalent helicopters in contract and an estimated share of 40 per cent of that market.



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