Closure of Great Yarmouth’s CHC helicopter port not ‘being discussed’ - but all options are open

CHC Helicopter formerly CHC Scotia Limited.The Caister Road heliport terminal in the North Denes are

CHC Helicopter formerly CHC Scotia Limited.The Caister Road heliport terminal in the North Denes area of Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

An offshore helicopter company said the future of its Great Yarmouth base remains uncertain following the loss of a major contract.

Bosses at CHC Helicopter have told staff 'that all options are on the table' regarding its North Denes site in the wake of a decision by oil and gas company Perenco not to renew its contract when out runs out next year.

It comes after Perenco announced it would move from its base in Yarmouth to a new location in Norwich,

A spokesman for CHC, the world's largest offshore helicopter operator, said: 'It is the case that the contract with Perenco is coming to an end and that it will come to an end in March. They will no longer require helicopters from the North Denes heliport and will instead operate from Norwich.

'In terms of closure of the base, it's not something we're discussing at the moment. But all options are on the table.

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'All staff at North Denes have been made aware of that.'

Perenco declined to comment.

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Two months ago, the company - which operates several platforms in the North Sea - unveiled plans to move its Yarmouth base to the outskirts of Norwich city. In a letter to staff, Perenco said would relocate to the St Andrews Business Park in or around March 2015 as its offices in Thamesfield Way, Yarmouth, were no longer big enough.

The firm already uses helicopters flying from Norwich.

In 2011, CHC dropped its own plans to move operations from North Denes to Norwich Airport. Instead, it invested £300,000 in the North Denes base and unveiled improved customer facilities.

At the time Simon Gray, chief executive officer of East of England Energy Group, formally opened the refurbished terminal and the project was hailed for demonstrating CHC's commitment to long-term investment in the base less than three years after it was threatened with closure.

It has been estimated that more than 50,000 offshore workers fly from the North Denes heliport each year.

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