Published on 19th April 2023
Helicopters are ideal for operating in challenging and remote conditions, including harsh and hazardous offshore environments.
Offshore helicopter operators have been providing helicopter services for a wide range of offshore operations and ensuring rigorous aircraft maintenance and aircrew training.
Using helicopters improves operational efficiency and safety and minimizes overall operational time in offshore applications.
Common applications of offshore helicopters include:
Keep reading to learn more about the prominent offshore helicopter services market players.
Table of Contents
Global Top 7 Offshore Helicopter Companies 
Abu Dhabi Aviation Co.
Bristow Group Inc.
CHC Group LLC
Gulf Helicopters Company (GHC)
Omni Helicopters International (OHI), S.A.
PHI Group, Inc.
Blackridge Research & Consulting – Global Offshore Helicopter Services Market Report
Here are the world’s leading offshore helicopter companies (listed alphabetically):
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi Aviation Co. (ADA) is a commercial airline operator providing aviation offshore oil support, particularly for Abu Dhabi’s O&G production companies.
ADA also offers other services like aerial construction, crop spraying, search and rescue (SAR), and third-party maintenance support.
According to ADA, the company is the “largest commercial helicopter operator in the Middle East,” operating and owning 51 helicopters and 7 fixed-wing aircraft (among others) and also the “first commercial entity” to offer the AW139 helicopters in the UAE.
ADA’s service portfolio includes:
ADA has flown more than a million flight hours in support of oil activities—operating Bell 212 and 412 aircraft in the UAE’s offshore sector.
Location: Houston, Texas, United States
Bristow Group Inc. (Bristow) is a leader in global vertical flight solutions specializing in offshore energy services, government services, SAR services (for companies and governments worldwide), and advanced air mobility (AAM).
Bristow supports offshore construction services (such as the development of offshore wind farms) in addition to offshore passenger transportation.
Alan Bristow established Bristow Helicopters Limited—one of the world’s largest helicopter services companies and a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Bristow Group.
According to the company, Bristow serves energy companies with “the largest fleet of AW139, AW189, and S-92 helicopters in the industry.”
With around 227 available aircraft globally, Bristow leverages its fleet of light, medium, and heavy twins, as well as single engines for on-time, efficient, and safe missions. Moreover, Bristow provides state-of-the-art terminals for passengers at its bases and ensures outstanding customer service on every Bristow flight.
In 2020, Bristow Group Inc. and Era Group Inc. combined the two companies. The merger strengthened Bristow’s global leadership position for offshore aviation transportation and SAR solutions, with major operations throughout the Americas, Australia, Nigeria, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
Location: Irving, Texas, United States
CHC Group LLC (also known as “CHC Helicopter” and “CHC”) is a leading helicopter services company that traces its origins to Okanagan Air Services founded by Canadian Air Force Veterans, Carl Agar, A. H. ‘Barney’ Bent, and Alfred ‘Alf’ Stringer.
CHC is known as a reliable and trusted offshore transportation partner providing safe, reliable, and cost-effective helicopter services in challenging and remote environments worldwide. Furthermore, CHC offers helicopter maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services.
The company has decades of experience in flying people to and from offshore vessels and platforms in some of the world’s most isolated, deepwater sites.
CHC uses an advanced fleet to provide fit-for-purpose aircraft solutions to customers around the world.
CHC’s technically advanced models include the following medium and heavy rotorcraft:
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, and Thailand
Australia, England, and Scotland
Australia, Brazil, England, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Scotland, Suriname, and Tanzania
S-76 C++ (MEDIUM)
Australia, Brazil, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Mexico, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Thailand
Bell 412 EP (MEDIUM)
East Timor and Norway
England and Scotland
Location: Doha, Qatar
Gulf Helicopters Company (GHC) is one of the leading commercial aviation services providers with a global footprint extending across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Far East. GHC is 100% owned by Gulf International Services.
Founded with the primary objective of catering to Qatar’s O&G industry needs, GHC has grown from a single helicopter operator into an internationally reputable operator of 50+ well-equipped helicopters.
In addition, the helicopters are configured to the highest standards for performing varied tasks—from aerial photography and emergency medical services to offshore support and seismic support.
GHC provides 24X7 support to all installations, platforms, and vessels in diverse locations across the world with an excellent track record of transporting personnel and sensitive machinery to remote locations as part of offshore operations.
GHC’s single-engine and twin-engine helicopter fleet includes:
Location: Ostend, Belgium
The NHV Group (NHV) specializes in B-to-B helicopter services and has a strong presence in Europe and Western Africa.
NHV operates from several bases on two continents and maintains a multi-purpose, high-value fleet of around 40 helicopters.
NHV has a long-lasting experience in offshore transport and uses the following helicopters for the O&G industry:
As part of the O&G sector services, NHV serves ad hoc missions to deliver equipment and supplies and charters passenger fixed-wing aircraft (to transfer large crews) between the NHV flight bases and airports.
Apart from engaging in the transport of crews and loads to and from O&G platforms and SAR operations, NHV’s scope of work includes maritime and MRO services.
NHV also serves as an approved training organization (ATO) and provides third-party maintenance services to various civil and military clients.
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Omni Helicopters International (OHI), S.A. is an air mobility company offering world-class offshore helicopter and vertical air mobility services.
Founded by Rui Almeida, OHI operates a fleet of more than 40 aircraft in the O&G industry and emergency medical transportation services.
OHI’s affiliate “Omni Táxi Aéreo” provides services to the largest companies in the oil sector (such as Petrobras) and offers onshore and offshore air transport solutions, including aeromedical transport and external cargo.
In addition, Omni Táxi Aéreo services 200+ offshore installations in the Brazilian market sector and transports nearly 15% of all offshore passengers worldwide.
OHI’s advanced air mobility solutions span various mission types, including:
OHI uses the latest-generation aircraft and technologies to cater to demanding energy sector customers.
Furthermore, the helicopter services specialist examines every detail of its fleet selection as part of the “Eyes on the Environment” program to deliver carbon-neutral operations.
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana, United States
Petroleum Helicopters International, Inc. (PHI) is a commercial helicopter operator founded by Robert L. Suggs.
PHI has been a trusted aviation service supplier to the energy industry for 70+ years—leveraging a fleet of 200+ helicopters across six continents to fly 400,000+ passengers annually.
PHI provides safe, efficient passenger transport—to and from offshore exploration, pipeline production platforms and vessels—with highly trained flight crews.
PHI’s expansive fleet of light, medium, and heavy lift helicopters includes models from leading helicopter manufacturers, such as:
From the humble beginning of three helicopters to fly seismic exploration crews in the marshes of South Louisiana, PHI has evolved into a distinguished player in the commercial helicopter industry.
PHI continues to lead the way in rotor wing aviation with operational bases and a network of strategic resources positioned worldwide to transport passengers in the energy, offshore wind, and government sectors.
Other significant players in the offshore helicopter services market include, but not limited to the following:
CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co., Ltd. (COHC). is a part of the CITIC (China International Trust and Investment Corporation) Group.
Founded as the “first professional helicopter operator in China,” COHC provides general aviation transportation and maintenance services and operates 80+ helicopters for a wide range of HEMS, offshore transport, and utility missions.
Formerly known as Era Group Inc., Era Helicopters is now a Bristow Group company that provides helicopter transportation services for diverse customers, including O&G exploration, development, and production companies.
Era Helicopters have been used for transporting personnel to, from, and between offshore installations, drilling rigs (oil rigs), and platforms.
Falcon Aviation Services offers a wide range of business and general aviation services, such as aircraft/helicopter charter and comprehensive MRO support (including scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and CAMO (Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization)).
Ultimate Aviation Group is South Africa’s passenger and air cargo specialist. It is a “one-stop shop” of aviation services with operations in more than 15 countries and specializes in helicopter services and cargo and passenger operations.
In 2023, Ultimate Aviation Group completed the acquisition of the North Sea helicopter services provider OHS UK (Offshore Helicopter Services UK). According to a press release, Shaun Roseveare, the CEO of Ultimate Aviation, and Paul Kelsall, Managing Director of OHS, are optimistic about the “symbiotic relationship between the two entities.”
Weststar Aviation Services (Weststar) is a well-known name in the global aviation industry operating a diverse fleet, including the Leonardo AW139 and AW189, for a wide range of helicopter-based services.
Weststar specializes in services, such as offshore crew change, offshore transportation, powerline/pipeline inspection, timber survey, and MEDEVAC (medical evacuation).
In addition, aircraft manufacturers play a key role in the offshore energy industry by offering a variety of helicopter solutions for carrying passengers safely, saving lives, and performing several vertical flight tasks.
For example, Airbus SE is a globally recognized commercial aircraft manufacturer that designs, manufactures, and sells a variety of commercial aircraft for a better-connected world.
Airbus offers the full spectrum of rotary-wing aircraft solutions, including the record-setting Airbus H175 helicopter, widely used for offshore missions because it provides the next level of safety, efficiency, comfort, and cost-effectiveness.
The offshore helicopter services market is growing rapidly due to key drivers, such as:
In Blackridge Research & Consulting’s Global Offshore Helicopter Services Market report, the market is segmented based on the following:
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Apart from transporting people, equipment, and materials in all environments, offshore helicopters help support construction, operations, and routine and emergency maintenance activities.
As helicopters are ideal for solving many challenges in the offshore wind power industry, offshore wind farms often require helicopter services for the safe transportation of people and cargo.
Currently, helicopter flights are in great demand for various offshore applications—from offshore crew change and transportation to construction and ongoing maintenance of wind turbines.
Offshore helicopter companies are not only helpful in supporting customers across the entire lifecycle of offshore energy assets but also in meeting global sustainable energy goals.