Starlite has extensive experience in this sector. The Company utilises Bell 412s and Augusta Westland 139 helicopters in the oil and gas sector.
In January 2014 Starlite positioned two Bell 412’s to Namibia, after a contract with UN WFP in Antananarivo, Madagascar where over 424 hours were flown in support of the elections. The offshore contract in Namibia was to provide rig transfers and medevac standby for Polarcus in support of their drilling campaign. In addition, Starlite was sub-contracted by Bayair in support of the Repsol contract in Terrace Bay, Namibia providing the helicopter offshore support and Emergency Medical Standby. Bayair was on contract to provide the Fixed Wing transfer of personnel from Cape Town to Namibia where after Starlite provided the helicopter transfer to the rig, as well as a 24/7 Medevac standby. This contract ran until July 2014. Annual relief voyages for the Department of Environmental Affairs commenced in April 2014, the first being to Marion Island with two Bell 212 helicopters aboard the SA Agulhas II. The Agulhas II returned to Cape Town early in May and were despatched to Angola, along with a further 15 Starlite helicopters for a government census contract. In February 2014, Starlite was awarded the contract to provide helicopter support to Total Exploration, South Africa. This contract required two Augusta 139 helicopters. Starlite mobilised the two helicopters from Europe, one, directly from Augusta in Milan, to the Southern tip of South Africa. Flying commenced in June 2014. This saw another successful introduction of a new type of helicopter to the Starlite fleet. The Total contract was completed successfully in October. The two aircraft demobilized in anticipation of the resumption of Total’s continuation of its drilling campaign in 2016. During October and November 2014, Starlite reopened the remote base in the North of Namibia for a short contract, in support of PGS’ seismic shooting off the Namibian coast. To date, Starlite has tendered on a variety of projects and strategically positioned the Company for future contracts on all continents whilst continuing to operate at near capacity for 2016.
In late 2012 Starlite expanded its fleet to include three Bell 412 helicopters. Two of these are Bell 412EP aircraft being acquired for a contract in Namibia to supply helicopter support to HRT for a four well drilling campaign. These helicopters came fitted with all the latest offshore aircraft and safety equipment and performed extremely well in the harsh African conditions. This contract was operated in conjunction with our Namibian partners, Bayair who supplied all fixed wing requirements to the client and all local logistic requirements to Starlite. During the seven months of the HRT contract the two Bell 412EP helicopters flew more than 112,000 kilometres, which equated to 552 flight hours and included 488 landings while safely carrying 2,523 passengers. This was accomplished without one delayed departure as well as being technically mission ready for every scheduled flying day. In 2013 Starlite continued with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) contract with the second voyage was to Marion Island in April 2013 where offloading and back loading of passengers and cargo was performed using the Bell 212 helicopters. In May 2013 the third trip to Antarctica commenced for 5 weeks utilising the same Bell 212 helicopters. The final trip for 2013 was completed in December 2013 to Gough Island.
Starlite expanded the helicopter fleet in the latter part of 2011, to include a Bell 212 which was mobilised for its first mission to Conakry, Guinea, where it serviced the AGR contract during scheduled maintenance on one of the Puma aircraft. The Bell 212 was ferried from Conakry, Guinea early January 2012 to Walvis Bay, Namibia. Starlite was contracted by PGS to provide a helicopter service in support of a geophysical survey vessel, operating in the Atlantic Ocean between 100 - 120 miles, west of Walvis Bay, Namibia. The Bell 212 remained in Namibia, providing helicopter support and Medevac services to Polarcus for geophysical survey which commenced in March 2012. On completion of the Polarcus contract, Starlite provided offshore helicopter support and Medevac services to Senergy in Opuwa, Namibia, utilising a Puma and Bell 212. Starlite secured an offshore contract with Sasol which commenced mid-July, conducting offshore passenger change over and Medevac services in Beira, Mozambique utilising a Puma and Bell 212. This contract continued until November 2012. Starlite was awarded a 4-year contract with the Department of Environmental Affairs in September 2012, providing two Bell 212 helicopters for annual relief voyages on the SA Agulhas II to - Antarctica, Marion Island and Gough Island. The annual relief voyages to these research stations are carried out to conduct research, carry out maintenance on the bases, replenishment of all stocks and supplies and to changeover the over-wintering expedition team and various other logistical tasks. During these voyages to the islands, offloading and back loading of passengers and cargo is performed using the helicopters. The helicopters are transported by the SA Agulhas II to the respective research stations and each voyage lasts between 36 – 85 days and require between 20 – 120 flying hours. The first voyage was to Marion Island and commenced toward the end of the year.
The Oil and Gas support contract for Petrodar in Sudan continued in 2011, with the primary utilization focused on passenger and freight as well as day and night NVG Medevac flights. In March 2011, the Sikorsky S92 was loaded onto a Ro-Ro Ship in Durban harbour for mobilisation to Greenland for a 6 month Oil and Gas contract which was extended. Starlite was awarded an offshore contract in the Republic of Guinea by AGR Petroleum Services which commenced mid-September 2011. The contract included two Puma aircraft on day/night support, providing offshore crew changeovers, logistical support and 24/7 Medevac flight standby. Starlite assisted Smit Amandla Marine in the salvage of the MT Phoenix in South Africa in 2011. Starlite’s Puma aircraft carried out 129 slings and transported an estimated 90 tons of equipment on deck, in the first few days of this operation. The helicopter was on 24/7 standby for emergency medical evacuation whilst personnel worked on board. During 41 days of operation, the aircrews encountered hazardous flying conditions on a daily basis.
Starlite Aviation was awarded a contract in support of the offshore drilling campaign for CGG Veritas commencing in January of that year. The helicopter was mobilized to Namibia, to conduct offshore crew changes, transport of freight and equipment as well as Medevac standby after which it was flown to Mozambique, to continue the contract in support of the offshore drilling campaign after the platform had moved south. In 2010, Starlite Aviation mobilised a Puma helicopter to Madagascar for offshore support of a seismic vessel requiring crew changes, and logistical and Medevac support. Both contracts required comprehensive self sufficient support to ensure the helicopters where mission ready for the scheduled flying days. In June, the newly acquired Sikorsky S92 was deployed to Walvis Bay, Namibia, to conduct exploration support for CGG Veritas. This long distance operation required special flight and fuel planning to support “The Geowave Master”, a ship positioned 200 Nm off the coastline. The S92 made Company history in 2010, making its first ever offshore landing on the Geowave Master.
Starlite Aviation’s exposure to the Oil and Gas industry gained momentum. The company was awarded an oil exploration contract to operate a Puma off the Namibian coastline, operating from Opuwa in Northern Namibia. This contract entailed drilling rig support, embracing Medevac standby, as well as passenger and freight transport on a scheduled basis. This was followed by a second oil exploration contract off the Mozambique coastline using a Puma with similar services being offered as in Namibia. In addition, this contract included the transportation of the exploration ships initial crew compliment from O R Tambo International Airport to Vilanculous using a chartered airliner. Both the Namibian and Mozambique contracts where operated from remote airfields without any facilities and services which required Starlite to provide the complete base infrastructure, operational oversight, flight following, onsite maintenance, logistics and fuel supply as well as crew accommodation and meals.
In May 2007, Starlite Aviation were contracted to provide a support service to the Sudanese oil company, Petrodar, and their oil production facilities in Southern Sudan. The operation was managed out of Khartoum with the base of operation being in Palouge. The primary role of this mission was to transport company employees and freight to a number of oil installations. The helicopter was also available for Medevac missions which were often flown at night using Night Vision Goggles. The contract was terminated due to the civil war that broke out in South Sudan 2013.
In January 2005, Starlite mobilised within a few days for the UN World Food Programme (UN WFP) to assist with a Relief Rescue Operation for the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia and Sumatra. Three Puma J models were mobilised simultaneously in an AN124 freighter from Spain, reassembled and certified to fly by the UN and local CAA, becoming operational on 15 January 2005. Most of the flying for the UN WFP was carried out in extreme weather conditions, with Starlite’s primary role of the missions being freight and passenger carriage, rescue and Medevac flights. The deployment included the provision of all onsite maintenance and logistical support for the full contract period. In excess of 950 hours were flown in the five-month period, with the aircraft being demobilised in June 2005. Continuing relief work in that year, saw the Earthquake Relief Operation in Pakistan with two contract Puma J models to the International Red Cross. Aircraft were mobilised from Spain in mid-October, using a UK RAF C17 Transporter to carry the Pumas into Pakistan. The aircraft conducted high altitude Medevacs and medical resupply, with missions being conducted up to 9000 ft amsl in cold weather conditions. A vast quantity of freight and medical supplies were transported. Over 900 hours of both internal and cargo sling were flown to various International Red Cross field hospitals positioned throughout the country. Four Puma J models went to Sudan, ferried from Spain and South Africa via Khartoum, to provide support to the UN mission in the country with operating bases across the entire country, including Malakal, Nyala, Al Fashir, Kadugli and Ed Damazin. All bases were self-sufficient, with Starlite Aviation providing all maintenance and logistical services to support each helicopter, as well as meals and accommodation for all crew. Here the fleet was involved again in Medevac and day/night emergency air support for UN staff deployed in Sudan. Specialist Night Vision Goggles (NVG) flying operations were used for night emergency requirements. In total, approximately 1,500 hours where flown in eleven months, with the contract ending in September 2006. In December 2005, Starlite was awarded a one-year contract to provide a dedicated, single engine MEDEVAC helicopter, along with a surf rescue helicopter service, to Netcare 911 in the Kwazulu Natal province of South Africa. The operation was inclusive of hangarage, dedicated onsite maintenance, medical personnel crew room, medical storage facilities for medication and oxygen, as well as the responsibility for the disposal of medical waste.
Starlite Aviation began its first ever offshore contract with Bristow Helicopters, as a joint venture partner. Starlite managed and maintained a Puma J type helicopter in a support role of an offshore oil program. This contract was sited at Vung Tau Airport, Vietnam, and involved the transfer of freight and passengers to and from offshore platforms on a scheduled basis. Simultaneously, Starlite Aviation undertook the contract to provide helicopter support for the salvage of the Jolly Rubino, a cargo ship grounded Richards Bay, South Africa. This salvage operation was carried out in conjunction with salvage specialists, Smit Marine. The tasks undertaken, included daily passenger and freight transfers, extensive cargo sling work, transporting heavy equipment, freight and explosives to and from the ship for the salvage operation, as well as providing 24/7 Medevac standby.