Bristow helicopters set to ditch N. Sea pilot jobs in wake of crude oil price slump

Bristow helicopter jobsUp to 130 people – including pilots who fly N. Sea commuter flights to offshore platforms – face being made redundant.

US-owned Bristow Group is one of the main N. Sea aviation operators with a major Aberdeen base.

The company has today confirmed that pilot jobs across the UK will be lost, but has not confirmed any specific location. Bristow employs some 1,950 people in the UK.

Bristow said it was continuing to be hit by a downturn in the North Sea oil and gas industry since benchmark Brent crude oil prices dived by 50% since this time last year.

A spokesman said: “Bristow Helicopters Ltd can confirm that its operations in the UK continue to be impacted due to the ongoing reduction of oil and gas activity in the North Sea, as our clients make permanent changes to their cost structure and operational practices.

“The company has taken numerous measures to reduce costs by working closely with clients to improve operational efficiencies, eliminate discretionary spending, defer capital spend, and offer voluntary redundancy.

“However, we have not been able to reach the level of cost reduction needed and approximately 130 personnel may be affected by redundancy in the UK.

 “These are difficult yet necessary proposals as we continue to align our cost structure and capacity to that of our clients in this rapidly changing, highly competitive helicopter transportation market. The company is consulting with the trade unions and employees on these proposals.

“Bristow is fully committed to ensuring the highest levels of safety standards are maintained throughout this difficult process.”

Pilots union BALPA has called for a summit to be held urgently on jobs security and said it would be fighting to save the threatened posts. Balpa said up to 66 pilots face losing their jobs.

General-secretary Jim McAuslan said: “This announcement reflects the collapse in the oil price and its impact on North Sea industry.

“We will do all we can to protect pilots who are feeling the brunt of the downturn in the North Sea oil industry.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the North Sea, the Dutch town of Den Helder has today launched a new campaign to promote the costs and benefits to offshore operators of using its airport and harbour facilities.

Conny van den Hoff, Director of Den Helder aiport, said: “The airport and seaport of Den Helder are the offshore logistics hub for the Netherlands and we aim to profile Den Helder within the offshore industry as the most important logistical offshore port of the southern North Sea – including the largest offshore helicopter airport of the Netherlands”.

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