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Beginning as the vision of several pioneering aviators, the rotorcraft industry has become a key part of the global transportation infrastructure for offshore transport, search-and-rescue, utility and emergency medical services. In its 70-year history, CHC has led the transformation as new markets emerged, new innovations and technology were developed, and new challenges were overcome.
Leading change is not always an easy path. Especially as the steep downturn in oil prices has rippled through the global economy and the offshore transportation needs of companies in the oil-and-gas industry have changed dramatically. CHC had to rethink its business to provide customers with exactly what they need while operating safely, providing reliable transportation and offering a low cost, high value solution.
“Customers rely on us not only for our experience, but because we use it to quickly adapt to changes as the industry evolves,” said Karl Fessenden, CHC president and CEO. “We take pride in listening to our customers and tailoring a specific solution to fit their needs. Our team knew that we needed to look at every aspect of who we are — our history, our core operations, our outstanding people and our customers — to figure out how to best meet customer needs faced with new industry dynamics.”
As part of CHC’s efforts, it was necessary for the company to complete a court-supervised restructuring. While the process is not something any company would take lightly, it allowed the company to create a streamlined, highly competitive cost structure and establish a fleet of aircraft better aligned with its customers’ businesses. CHC is not only emerging with a stronger business model, but also with an infusion of $300 million in new capital and access to an additional $150 million financing toward its fleet of aircraft.
“We recognized that, if we approached this process in the right way, that we could transform CHC as well as change the shape of the industry moving forward,” explained Fessenden. “First and foremost, we focused on continuing to deliver the high standards of safety and reliability our customers demand while navigating this process as quickly as possible. Ultimately, we wanted to introduce a new CHC that reflects our agility as a company and our legacy of continuous improvement and innovation that allows us to reach beyond where others go to help our customers find the solutions they need to be successful.”
What has not changed is CHC’s dedication to serving customers — on and offshore — in oil-and-gas, search-and-rescue, emergency medical services, energy and utility missions in virtually every corner of the world. The company believes it will be the best-positioned operator in the industry, able to meet the shifting needs of the market head-on. CHC is leveraging its technology, expertise and global standards to meet the needs and budgets of customers while making sure safety and reliability are at the forefront of its operations.
“I’m excited about where we are headed,” said Fessenden. “I appreciate the support of our customers and other partners during recent challenging times and look forward to sharing the new CHC with the industry in the months ahead.”
CHC continues to provide offshore transport on six continents and operates one of the most extensive search-and-rescue networks in the world with aircraft protecting offshore oil-and-gas workers in the North Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, both sides of the Indian Ocean and the Timor Sea. It also provides around-the-clock rapid response capabilities for customers such as the Irish Coast Guard and the Royal Australian Air Force.
CHC relies on its people to make these solutions happen. Its pilots have hundreds of thousands of hours of collective experience and are required to maintain their currency through a variety of training, including simulator, instrument, autopilot, and live winching. Its engineers and maintenance teams are ready to respond at a moment’s notice and are supported by a global logistics team that can efficiently source whatever is needed anywhere in the world to meet the needs of any customer. They use the latest monitoring systems to collect performance data to further advance safety and efficiency.
To exemplify its strengthened business model while paying homage to its days as Okanagan Helicopters, CHC is introducing a new corporate identity and brand. The company will also hold its 13th annual Safety and Quality Summit near its new headquarters in Dallas, Texas, later this year from Sept. 27 to 29, 2017. More information can be found at chcsafetyqualitysummit.com.
“We’re excited about all of the changes we’ve made, but we know they ultimately don’t mean anything unless we execute,” said Fessenden. “Our resolve to earn and build upon the trust of our customers drives everything we do. We have the global footprint and hard-earned reputation for getting our customers where they need to be, when they need to be there, anywhere in the world — safely and reliably.”