Two new helicopters start operating at Durban, Richards Bay ports

by NiketaSeptember 11, 2019

Two new helicopters valued at R250-million went into service on August 31 at the Durban and Richards Bay ports, replacing helicopters that were at the end of their lifecycle.

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) acquired the Italy-manufactured Leonardo AgustaWestland 109SP helicopters under the Transnet Market Demand Strategy and its fleet renewal programme.

The programme seeks to improve operational efficiency and safety in the ports.

The helicopters will service the KwaZulu-Natal ports, where they will transfer marine pilots onto and off visiting ships for vessels to be guided in safely and efficiently.

TNPA will introduce the complementary helicopter service at the Port of Cape Town in 2022.

The AW109SP is a modern top-of-the-range light twin-engine helicopter with excellent operational flexibility, as well as high safety levels through advanced navigation and situational awareness technology.

The two new AW109SP’s are equipped with a Harbour Pilot Shuttle Kit, which features a hoist that enables this distinctive operation.

The contract for the new helicopters includes a supplier development obligation by the global supplier to ensure that the contract created socioeconomic benefits within South Africa. These included job creation, skills development and, where possible, the use of local, empowered companies and local materials or parts.


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