British International Helicopter Services Limited (formerly Veritair Limited) is an airline based at Penzance heliport, in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, with headquarters located at Sherborne, Dorset. It operates seasonal and year round domestic scheduled services to the Isles of Scilly. Its main base is Penzance Heliport (EGHK/PZE), with services to St. Mary's Airport (EGHE/ISC), and Tresco Heliport (EGHT/TSO), Isles of Scilly. The company has plans in place to re-locate its operations from Penzance to Land's End Airport (EGHC/LEQ), from early 2010. It utilises two Sikorsky S-61 helicopters from a pool of nine of the type that it owns.
A secondary base operates from Plymouth Airport utilising two Eurocopter AS 365N2 Dauphin helicopters on behalf of the Royal Navy Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) based at HMS Drake in HMNB Devonport. A Sikorsky S-61 helicopter is also used on occasions for FOST duties.
British International (as Veritair Limited) holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, which permits it to carry passengers, cargo, and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
The company was originally British Airways Helicopters until its privatisation in September 1986, when it was sold to publisher Robert Maxwell and subsequently renamed to British International Helicopters (BIH).
In 1993 CHC Helicopter acquired 40% of BIH's voting shares, and raised their shareholding to 90% within a year. BIH became the UK subsidiary of CHC, as Brintel Helicopters Limited. In October 1996 Brintel acquired the Cardiff-based Veritair Limited.
The current incarnation of the company was formed in 2000 with the backing of 3i Group PLC and the Bank of Scotland, through a management buy in of the non-oil related operations of Scotia Helicopters and CHC Helicopter, with the Bank of Scotland providing funding of £22million.
In 2006, BIH finalised a secondary management buy-out financed by a syndicate of investors led by Matrix Private Equity Partners, with the backing of Finance Cornwall and Chrysalis Venture Capital Trust.
As a result of the loss of a South Wales Police helicopter air support contract, the business of British International at Cardiff was sold in May 2008 to the management team lead by Captain Julian Verity. The new company Heli Charter Wales Limited is trading as Veritair Aviation.
Veritair Limited changed its name to British International Helicopter Services Limited in October 2008.
The British International Helicopters fleet consists of the following aircraft (at February 2009):
Accidents and incidents
Published - July 2009
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