A NEW partnership between Bristow Helicopters and Eastern Airways to fly oil and gas workers through Scatsta Airport has been hailed as good news for the local economy by councillor Alastair Cooper.
The helicopter operator announced the launch of Bristow Logistics Services Shetland (BLSS) on Tuesday.
The company will seek new clients directly in the hope of winning new business to use the airport.
The new contract will operate in addition to the Integrated Aviation Consortium (IAC), which uses Scatsta to fly oil workers to the east of Shetland Basin as well as to the Sullom Voe terminal and Total’s gas plant.
IAC is made up of Bristows, Eastern Airways, BP, BP Sullom Voe, CNR Interna-tional, Petrofac, TAQA and Total.
A spokeswoman for Bristow said the company was already in the process of speaking to prospective new customers.
Cooper, chairman of the SIC’s development committee, said: “This is good news for Scatsta airport because it offers the prospect of consolidation of Bristow’s operation and job security for existing staff. The airport is a very important local employer.”
During the last 12 months airport operator Serco laid off more than 40 people in response to the sharp reduction in the number of flights handled at Scatsta.
Cooper added: “Bristow and Eastern Airways will be trying to secure new business from Hurricane, Premier Oil, BP and all the others operating west of Shetland.
“This is also good news from the health and safety point of view as oil workers will be transported by fixed wing to Scatsta and spend less time in helicopters.
“If this is successful, in time, we might even get some fresh jobs. And it will be local jobs.”
Bristow managing director Alan Corbett said: “We are extremely proud of our Shetland Islands heritage and continue to work hard to maintain reliable opera-tions at both Sumburgh and Scatsta airports.
“This new partnership is also important for the local economy and demonstrates our commitment to the area.
“As the only helicopter operator at Scatsta, we are able to turn around helicopter flights faster. We also have additional back-up support from our great team at Sumburgh Airport to assist when required.”