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Rigby Group PLC unifies aviation activities under British International Helicopters banner

Rigby Group PLC has completed a reorganisation of its aviation division, unifying all helicopter operations under the British International Helicopter Services (BIH) brand.

The move will see the BIH brand at the head of the group’s helicopter-led aviation activities as it continues to pursue its strategic goal of building a large domestically owned commercial helicopter operator in the UK, leading a planned expansion of the group’s existing military and commercial helicopter business.

“Following a period of rapid growth through acquisition, we have now fully aligned the group’s aviation assets to create a balanced, full-service commercial air operation ready to meet the challenges of the sector,” said Rigby Group founder and CEO Sir Peter Rigby.

“The British commercial aviation sector, which is important to both the regional and national economies, is currently dominated by overseas companies. From a strategic perspective UK PLC must address that, and it is clear to us that only a proven company of genuine scale and with real breadth of expertise can mount a credible challenge.”

British International Helicopters now employs over 150 people and operates a fleet of 25 helicopters covering offshore and defence, engineering, charter and flying training activities from its bases at Newquay, Redhill, Coventry, Cardiff and Enniskillen.

The company is a well-regarded operator of medium and large helicopters with particular emphasis on offshore operations and in the defence sector. For more than a decade it has operated the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) helicopter support programme to provide services to the Royal Navy through HMS Raleigh, while a second contract provides the Ministry of Defence with helicopter services in support of British forces in the Falklands and provides the helicopter lift capability for troops and materials around the South Atlantic islands.

Cardiff Heliport operator Veritair will continue to function as BIH’s utilities division, servicing an operational workload that includes Police and Air Ambulance capability, commercial helicopter support including surveying, pipeline patrols, TV mast calibration, load lifting, forestry and national park services and film work.

London Helicopter Centres, based at Redhill, will maintain and develop BIH’s growing VIP and commercial charter business, flight training for both commercial and private pilots and helicopter engineering across a wide range of helicopter types.

The group’s successful sightseeing and tours business, The London Helicopter, will continue to fly from Battersea and Redhill.

Paul Southall, Chief Operations Officer at BIH, commented:  “Commercial aviation is an expanding sector, and we are now positioned to maximise our opportunities in the offshore energy, military outsourcing and general utilities businesses. As we move forward, it is our intention to create a vibrant UK aviation brand focused on rapid, sustainable growth.”


About British International Helicopter Services (BIH)

BIH is the largest British owned helicopter operator and the only domestically owned company in the offshore helicopter / EMS sector operating in the United Kingdom. The combined entity operates a helicopter fleet of 25, principally owned aircraft, and employs over 150 personnel.

The company has a long-standing relationship with the Ministry of Defence providing helicopter support to the Falkland Island Garrison and Flag Officer Sea Training and Joint Maritime Courses in Plymouth and off the west coast of Scotland.

BIH undertakes its own maintenance and has also diversified into providing third party helicopter and fixed wing maintenance services and training.  It is certified to BS EN ISO 9001:2000 by the British Standards Institute and holds a JAR145 maintenance approval.

About The Rigby Group

Formed in 1975, The Rigby Group PLC is the parent company for a portfolio of privately owned and highly successful businesses operating across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The Group comprises operating businesses in five key divisions – technology, aviation, property, hotels and investments.

Under the management of Regional & City Airport Management Limited (RCAM), Rigby Group’s airports arm caters for thousands of commercial flights and over 750,000 passenger journeys every year through Coventry and Exeter Airports. The division is also responsible for the running of the regional airports at Blackpool and Derry.

The group also owns Patriot Aviation, a market leader in fixed wing and helicopter sales and servicing.

Group revenue for the financial year ending March 2012 was in excess of £2.7bn with net assets of £300m. The group employs over 6,000 staff worldwide.

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