Bond Offshore Helicopters
|Parent company||Bond Aviation Group|
|Key people||Luke Farajallah, Managing Director|
Bond Offshore Helicopters are a British Helicopter operator, specialising in providing offshore helicopter transportation services between Aberdeen, Scotland, Blackpool, Norwich and Humberside to North Sea and Irish Sea oil and gas platforms. Bond also operate air ambulance and police helicopter support and specialist services (such as offshore wind farm and lighthouse maintenance and aerial lifting) within the UK.
David Bond (1920-1977), founder of the Bond company, was a wartime Lancaster pilot (90 Squadron) who set up his own company in 1946 and flew Austers, Lancastrians and Halifaxes for air taxis and charter work. He switched to helicopters in 1953 and was involved in crop-spraying in Jamaica and Honduras, surveying in Algeria, and flying for Marley Tiles before launching the company which was to become Bond Aviation.
David Bond founded the Bond company, originally called Management Aviation, in 1961 to operate Hiller 12E helicopters near Cambridge for commercial services (mostly crop spraying) in the UK. By 1972 the company had entered the North Sea market, and introduced the world's first light twin-engined helicopter, Bolkow 105, in support of North Sea and Lighthouse Operations.
In 1977 Steven Bond, son of David, became Managing Director for the Bond company when David died and by 1979 the Bond company expanded their North Sea market with medium and heavy category S-58T and S-61N helicopters. The Bond company were rebranded as Bond Helicopters in 1984.
In 1987 Bond launched the UK's first dedicated air ambulance for Cornwall Air Ambulance Service and by 1991 Bond Helicopters Ltd was one of the largest helicopter companies in the UK. Bond Air Services then formed as a division of Bond Helicopters in the same year to manage expansion of light twin market for clients (such as air ambulance services and light houses) and by 1993 Bond had expanded internationally, acquiring Lloyd Helicopters Pty Ltd (Australia and South East Asia's largest helicopter operator) which created an overall fleet of 107 helicopters.
By 1994 Bond Group had merged with Norway’s Helikopter Service to form the Helicopter Services Group, the world’s largest commercial helicopter offshore operating group, with a fleet of over 350 twin engine helicopters. In 1999 Stephen and Peter Bond (sons of founder David Bond) acquired Bond Air Services division from Helicopter Services Group.
In 2001 Bond HQ moved from Aberdeen, Scotland to custom-built facilities at Gloucestershire Airport, however, its main operational base remained in Aberdeen. By 2004 Bond established an operating base, including Hangarage and passenger terminal facilities, on the east side of Aberdeen airport.
Bond Air Services started the UK's first wind farm support contract using a winch-equipped EC135T2i from a new base at Lowestoft in 2010 and in 2011 Bond Aviation Group were acquired by World Helicopter Group, a holding company for investment firms Investindustrial and KKR & Co (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co) making their combining fleet to 360.
On 12 February 2013 Avincis Group takes delivery of two Sikorsky S-92s out of the sixteen which had been ordered by company. The helicopters would be operated by Bond Offshore Helicopters and based at Aberdeen Airport.
Bond Offshore Helicopters are based in Aberdeen, Scotland with additional UK and Ireland operations located in Blackpool, Humberside, Norwich, Staverton. However, they are a global operation with bases in Norway and Queensland (Australia).
Search & Rescue (SAR)
Bond Offshore Helicopters also has two search and rescue aircraft as part of a BP contract called "Jigsaw" that provide emergency support to offshore oil drilling operations. These are currently based in Sumburgh, Shetland and the Miller platform.
The concept of the Jigsaw project was founded by BP, for sea rescue and to assist sick or injured oil rig employees, which became fully operational in 2006. Bond won the bidding for Jigsaw in 2006 where previously the Royal Air Force and Coastguard helicopters provided the cover.
In July 2012 Jigsaw reached a milestone when completing the 300th emergency mission in the North Sea.
|Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma Mk2||6||2 in Search and Rescue configuration|
|Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin||4|
|Sikorsky S-92||3||16 Ordered|
|Total Number of Aircraft||21|
Accidents and incidents
- 18 February 2009. G-REDU, an EC225 LP. During a night visual approach to the Eastern Trough Area Project platform, the helicopter descended and impacted the surface of the sea. The crew’s perception of the position and orientation of the helicopter relative to the platform during the final approach was erroneous. All 18 people onboard survived the controlled flight into terrain (water). 
- 1 April 2009 - G-REDL, a Eurocopter AS332 L2 Super Puma Mk 2, returning from the Miller oilfield went down in the North Sea, 40 miles northeast of Aberdeen, killing all sixteen on board. Preliminary cause was attributed to a catastrophic failure in the main gearbox.
- May 10, 2012 - G-REDW, a Bond Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma, travelling to the Conocophillips operated Joanne and Judy fields made a controlled ditching into the North Sea following a radio report of a low oil pressure light. All 14 people were rescued from the helicopter liferaft, 9 were airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary while the remaining five were brought to Aberdeen by lifeboat. On June 15, 2012 helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter cleared Bond Offshore Helicopters of any blame for the ditching of G-REDW. On October 17, 2012 AAIB concluded in their S5/2012 report that a faulty design of the Emergency Lubrication System was the most likely cause of the warnings that led to the ditching of G-REDW and recommended "Eurocopter to review the design of the main gearbox emergency lubrication system on the EC225 LP Super Puma to ensure that the system will provide the crew with an accurate indication of its status when activated".
- "Bond Aviation Group – About Us". Bond Aviation Group. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- "Avincis Mission Critical Services– About Us". Avincis Group. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
- "UK Enterprise in the Skies". Management Today. 1 April 1995. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- "Bond Aviation flying high after acquisition by World Helicopters". This Is Money. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
- "Avincis Group takes delivery of first of 16 Sikorsky S-92s". Flightgobal. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
- "BP commits to Jigsaw safety plan". Offshore Shipping Online. 28 May 2004. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "BP’s Jigsaw completes emergency milestone". Press & Journal. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
- "Report on the accident to Eurocopter EC225 LP Super Puma, G-REDU...". AAIB.
- "Eight dead as helicopter crashes". BBC News. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
- "10 feared dead as helicopter ditches in North Sea". The Press Association. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
- "A "Super Puma" helicopter ditched in the North Sea". World Aeronautical Press Agency. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
- Melanie Reid (2 April 2009). "Helicopters grounded by BP as hope ends for sixteen lost in crash". Times of London. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
- David Byers (2 April 2009). "All 16 on board North Sea Helicopter killed in crash". Times of London.
- "Flights suspended after North Sea helicopter ditches". BBC News. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-01.
- "Bond cleared of blame for helicopter ditching". Press & Journal. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
- "Special Bulletin S5/2012 - EC225 LP Super Puma, G-REDW". Air Accident Investigation Branch. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-17.