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PHI International has strengthened its presence in the Middle East and Africa with the appointment of a new general manager. Jamie Mitchell will oversee PHI International’s operations in Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Cyprus and help the business grow its international footprint in the wider region.
Formerly HNZ, the business was renamed PHI International after it was acquired by American helicopter operator PHI, Inc. in late 2017. Keith Mullett, president – International for PHI, said he is delighted to welcome Mitchell to the PHI family.
“This region offers exciting opportunities for PHI International, so it’s an exciting moment to establish a presence in this part of the world,” Mullett said. “Jamie’s proven track record in improving operations to the highest possible standards in complex environments like search-and-rescue (SAR) set him up well to deliver on this role, a key focus of which will be to forge ahead with our strategy of continuing to integrate and expand our operations across the globe.”
Mitchell brings 24 years of aviation experience to the post, the majority of which were gained serving in the armed forces of his home country, the U.K. After enrolling in the Royal Navy in 1994, Mitchell worked as a helicopter pilot and instructor for a decade before transferring to the Royal Air Force. There, he specialized in SAR and operated across a spread of locations, including Cyprus, the Falkland Islands and Anglesey in North Wales where he also commanded the U.K. military’s SAR training unit.
Keen to explore opportunities outside of the military, Mitchell then joined Brunei Shell Petroleum – one of the biggest energy companies in Asia. During his seven-year tenure with the company, Mitchell established and managed Brunei Shell’s SAR helicopter operations, delivering a comprehensive aviation emergency response capability to the offshore energy sector and, when required, in support of the Brunei Government’s National SAR organization.
As the nominated postholder for SAR flight operations and air transport emergency response, he also streamlined the broader logistical contribution to the company’s emergency response procedures.
Mitchell also founded and co-chaired the HeliOffshore SAR working group; collaborating with other SAR providers globally to further enhance safety in this niche element of the helicopter industry. His new role will see the father of three return to the U.K. with his family, with the time zone considered optimal for serving the regions that fall under his remit.
Mitchell said he is excited for the opportunity to develop PHI’s business in the region. “I’m looking forward to being able to give our partners in the region the support, time and attention they deserve to thrive. Finding new business and opportunities for growth is another aspect I’m excited to be involved with. For example, further opportunities to broaden out of the oil-and-gas side of things to inject some additional diversity into the portfolio will be an area I’ll also be focusing on.”