December 11 2013 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Norwich International Airport has joined forces with Bristow Helicopters to invest £40,000 in a new passenger lounge.
The joint investment has created a specific space for Bristow’s offshore passengers to separate them from the airport’s holidaymakers.
The project is the final stage of the helicopter firm’s £3.5m cash injection to upgrade its Norwich facilities, which have included a new helicopter hanger, an operations centre and an administration area to support its flights to the Southern North Sea.
Phil Gadd, property and contracts manager at the airport, said the move was a “statement of intent” to the offshore energy industry that it will continue to be a key part of its future.
It comes just weeks after plans were lodged by KLM Engineering to create a new plane recycling facility at the airport.
Mr Gadd said: “The big benefit of the lounge will come when there are delays with flights because of problems with the weather.
“In the new lounge, the workers can come in, kick off their shoes and relax. It will make the whole transition process a lot smoother for them.
“It is a reflection of how important the oil and gas passenger movements are to the airport. This is a statement that says the airport works for the offshore energy industry – as well as its holiday passengers.
“We looked at the possibility of creating an additional building,” he added. “But then we came to the conclusion that we could achieve this area in the space we already have.”
“And once we decided on the position [close to the main customer service desk] it was constructed relatively quickly.”
The new lounge – which includes seating and flat screen televisions– was constructed in an “under used” corner of the airport set aside for storage.
Phil Hume, Bristow’s client liaison officer for the southern North Sea, said: “As soon as the workers step inside the airport they are in the office. The airport is a part of their working environment.
“This will provide them with their own space where they can easily identify other Bristow passengers and strike up a conversation. We can also use this area for presentations if we need to deliver something to one of the guys.”
Bristow Helicopters, an American firm based in Texas but with an operation in Norwich, recently won a £1.6bn contract from 2016 to provide the UK’s search and rescue operations.
It comes after the firm recently agreed to sell 50pc of its stake in three companies – FB Heliservices, FB Leasing and FBS Ltd– for $112m (approximately £71m) to expand its search and rescue services.
Two hundred jobs are set to be created after one of west Norfolk’s largest businesses was granted permission to expand its King’s Lynn facilities.