Macau: Sky Shuttle Helicopters spends US$70 million upgrading its helicopter fleet

1 December 2008

Macau, China, 1 Dec – Sky Shuttle Helicopters, previously known as Heli Express, will spend more than US $ 70 million on upgrading its helicopter fleet next year, a company source told the MacauNews news agency.

The company said is also spending a further US$16.3 million (HK $130 million) building a second helipad and new passenger departure lounge at the Shun Tak Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal as well as improving the current heliport.

Work is expected to be completed by July along with the fleet renewal, which will put into operation new Augusta Westland (AW) 139 helicopters, manufactured in the United States, which will replace the six Sikosky S76Cs currently in the company’s service.

The first two Augusta Westland (AW) 139 helicopters will be phased in at the start of next year and will bear the company’s new Sky Shuttle logo. AW 139 helicopters are used by the Japanese Coast Guard, the Irish Air Corps and the United Arab Emirates Air Force.

Sky Shuttle chairman Stanley Ho said the new helicopters offered technically advanced avionics, and enhanced safety, performance and comfort. “The selection of this helicopter was made because it best meets the company’s future operational and commercial requirements,” he said.

Sky Shuttle Helicopters, which was set up in 1991 under the name Heli Express, carried out 240,000 flights per year, employs 250 people and transports around 24,000 passengers per year.

Sky Shuttle currently operates 54 flights a day, with flight departing every 30 minutes between Macau and Hong Kong, and 10 flights a day between Macau and Shenzhen.

Flights between Macau and Hong Kong take around 16 minutes, as do the flights between Macau and the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Around half the passengers using the route between Macau and Hong Kong are Hong Kong residents, 25 percent are from mainland China and the remaining 25 percent are from Macau and other countries.

The Hong Kong government recently renewed Sky Shuttle Helicopters concession to use Shun Tak airport for a further 18 years. (macauhub)