Eastern Airways sells majority share to Bristow Helicopters

Bristow Helicopters has acquired a 60% stake in Eastern Airways International Ltd, with the airline continuing to operate independently from Bristow under its own brand, led by the current management team.

The agreement builds on a relationship between Bristow and Eastern Airways that dates back to 1999.

Bristow highlighted that the two companies have strong safety management systems and share the same ethos. The businesses have been recognised by clients and the aviation and helicopter transport industries for their focus on safe operations. Each has a state-of-the-art maintenance, repair and logistics support system.

Mike Imlach, Bristow Helicopters Limited’s managing director, noted that Bristow and Eastern Airways serve many of the same customers and have business portfolios which “are highly complementary in terms of service offerings and geographic footprint”. He believes that through this investment, the pair can build on their respective strengths to create “a seamless experience for passengers travelling to offshore locations”.

“The Bristow brand will benefit from alignment with a known and valued fixed wing operator,” Imlach remarked. “Together we will be able to capitalise on the respective strengths of both organisations, offer a broader range of services, pursue growth opportunities in new markets and geographies, invest in markets where we are currently well-positioned and become even stronger in these areas.”

Bryan Huxford, chairman of Eastern Group, added, “With Bristow making this strategic investment in Eastern, we believe that we can accelerate the success both companies have already achieved in the marketplace, which will strengthen and further develop our business and future opportunities.”

Eastern Group will retain its 82.7% stake in Humberside Airport that it acquired in August 2012 with North Lincolnshire Council retaining the remaining 17.3% shareholding.

DLA Piper advised Bristow Helicopters Limited on the acquisition.

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