Caverton Helicopters has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic posed a lot of challenges to its operations in 2020.

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The Group Chief Operating Officer at Caverton Offshore Support Group, Lolade Abiola, disclosed that the year was a difficult one for the firm during a webinar organised by the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Abiola during the webinar tagged ‘Facts Behind the Figures’ said the flights dropped due to the shutdown of airspace which lasted for five months.

She said, “2020 was a difficult year for us. Initially, we had a drop in flights because there was a lockdown in several areas.

“A lot of the clients, passengers, could not come into the country because of the shutdown of the airspace and international travel.

“We did feel the effect of a reduction in flights but we are happy to see that things have picked up over the past few months and we can see a slight improvement in our operations.”

The Group COO explained that despite the drop in travel, the firm was able to secure two lucrative contracts.

She said, “Regardless, we were able to secure two very lucrative contracts that we are proud of. First is the Chevron deepwater contract. That is for the provision of the Sikorsky S92 Helicopter and AW139 Helicopter.

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“We have been operating the AW139 Helicopter for over 10 years. We have a lot of experience on it. But the S92 is very special and exciting for us because not only was it new to our fleet, we are also the first indigenous company on the continent to be operating this aircraft.

“The aircraft arrived the country over the weekend and we will be assembling it and getting it ready for the commencement of a contract in the first quarter of next year.”

Abiola added that the second contract secured this year was the provision of three Sikorsky S76D helicopters which would be utilised by the firm next year.

The Caverton Exec expressed delight over its new Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul and Flight Simulator facilities which would soon commence the training of pilots in Nigeria and across the globe.

She said, “We are proud to have secured MRO and the full flight simulator training device to provide flight training services for AW139 Helicopter for pilots. It is not for us but for other 139 operators in Nigeria and other parts of the world.”

Abiola explained that the flight simulator was already being installed. She noted that installation was in two phases and would be completed by February 2021.

She also stated that the firm had received so much support from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and was waiting for the European Aviation Safety Agency to certify the simulator.