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Energy / Oil and gas contract begins at Sumburgh Airport

One of three Babcock helicopters being boarded by oil workers at Sumburgh Airport today (Wednesday).Photo: Ronnie Robertson

OIL and gas flights which previously flew through Scatsta Airport have now started operating from Sumburgh Airport.

The first flight for Babcock’s new five-year contract for helicopter operations out of Sumburgh took place today (1 July).

The contract is in partnership with airline Loganair.

Nearly 40 passengers left Aberdeen International Airport on a Loganair aircraft arriving at Sumburgh today where they transferred to Babcock S-92 helicopters.

One helicopter flew 19 passengers to CNR’s Ninian Southern platform and another took 19 passengers to TAQA’s Cormorant Alpha and Tern platforms.

Current plans will see Babcock’s offshore business initially conduct more than 100 flights a month to installations in the Northern North Sea on behalf of EnQuest, TAQA and CNR International.

Passengers fly from Aberdeen to Sumburgh on a Loganair ATR-42 aircraft before taking the final leg offshore by helicopter.

Babcock offshore director Ian Cooke said: “Today’s first flight marks a significant moment for us as we embark on a new relationship with an important new customer group.

“We are basing aircraft in Sumburgh full-time to serve this contract and will also be investing in facilities there and in Aberdeen.

“We pride ourselves on operating to the highest levels of safety and I’m looking forward to Babcock delivering a safe and efficient aviation service to support our customer’s operations in Shetland.”

Loganair’s director of charter services Fiona MacLeod added: “This is a significant contract win for us, strengthening our oil and gas commitment – in a sector where we have considerable long-term experience.

“In partnership with Babcock, we will be providing vital links for three major North Sea companies. We have dedicated two of our 49-seat ATR-42 turboprops to the service, a type newly introduced to the Loganair fleet, of which we have five in total.”

The contract was previously held by Bristow and Eastern Airways at Scatsta Airport in the north mainland of Shetland. The shift to Sumburgh resulted in the closure of Scatsta and the loss of around 100 jobs at the airport.

Search for future use of Scatsta continues as airport gets set to close on Friday