Bristow Group




MarketCap US

US United States


Bristow Group Inc. provides aviation services to integrated, national, and independent offshore energy companies in the United States. It also offers commercial search and rescue services; and other helicopter and fixed wing transportation services. As of March 31, 2022, the company had a fleet of 229 aircrafts, of which 213 were helicopters. It also has operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the Dutch Caribbean, Guyana, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad, and the United Kingdom. The company was founded 1948 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.


Bristow Helicopters Limited traces its origins back to the endeavours of British inventor and business man Alan Bristow. A former test pilot for both the Royal Navy and Westland Helicopters, Bristow had chosen to invest his earnings into forming multiple companies, the first of which being Air Whaling Ltd. In June 1955, he opted to establish Bristow Helicopters Limited after securing a contract for the supply of helicopter crews at the Shell Oil Company to support rigs in the Persian Gulf. During 1957, Bristow Helicopters received a contract from British Petroleum, which allowed the firm to purchase its own helicopters, a pair of Westland Widgeons. That same year, having realised that few companies could afford helicopter services, Bristow began to seek work around the globe; the company soon launched successful ventures into both Iran and Bolivia.In 1960, Bristow Helicopters chose to enter the African market via the acquisition of crop-spraying specialist Fison-Airwork, which had also operated in locations in Central America and the UK. Bristow opted to discontinue crop-spraying activities in favour of focusing on oil exploration work in Nigeria on behalf of Shell; by the start of the Biafran War in 1967, the company had a fleet of 11 helicopters committed the Nigerian oil exploration effort, based at Port Harcourt. Early on in the conflict, Bristow helped to evacuate oil workers in the region to the safety of Fernando Po; despite the risks, Bristow maintained its Nigerian operations throughout the three years of war via a reduced presence in Lagos and Warri. This decision to remain gave the company a head-start on rivals as oil companies returned to the region after the war's end. Throughout much of 1970s, Nigeria functioned as Bristow's biggest profit centre; it continued to grow through the decade via contracts from Shell, Mobil, Texaco and other companies.In the mid-1960s, Bristow opted to enter the North Sea market; being the second helicopter operator to establish operations at Aberdeen, Scotland, it was relatively well positioned to take advantage of the region's oil boom. Starting on 17 February 1965, the company operated the Westland Wessex 60 ten-seat helicopter to support these off-shore installations. Throughout the 1970s, Bristow would expand its Aberdeen operation, its main oil and gas support hub being based at Dyce Airport; in 1972, the company allocated the first of several Sikorsky S-61N to Sumburgh Airport in support of Shell's offshore rigs. Following an expansion programme, which included the building of new on-site accommodations for workers and their families, around thirty S-61N flights were routinely flying daily from Sumburgh, supported by round-the-clock maintenance coverage, at the peak of operations during the 1970s. During the 1980s, Bristow became Aberdeen Airport's largest single employer, its personnel in Aberdeen having increased a hundred-fold, as well as operating the majority of offshore flights in the North Sea. In 1980 alone, nearly 400,000 passengers and over 2,300 tons of freight passed through Bristow's Aberdeen terminal.

Another key source of business was the provision of training services; in 1961, Bristow Helicopters commenced training of helicopter pilots on behalf of the Royal Navy at Redhill Aerodrome, Surrey; further training contracts were quickly secured from other helicopter operators in India, Australia and New Zealand. By 1970, Bristow had also established a training joint venture in Iran, although this was discontinued after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. During the late 1960s, Bristow Helicopters operated a fleet of Hiller UH-12 training helicopters based at AAC Middle Wallop which were used to train flight crews on behalf of the UK Army Air Corps. In 1986, the company began training overseas pilots at its flying school at Redhill Aerodrome; this program ran for multiple decades, being rebranded as the Bristow Academy. In addition to pilot training, Bristow has also been involved in training ground crew, having started sponsoring students at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, , Zaria, in 1986.Starting in 1971, Bristow Helicopters began providing civilian search and rescue services in the UK, replacing military Westland Whirlwinds with Bristow-operated Sikorsky S-55s at RAF Manston, Kent. The then-unfamiliar concept of using a private company for SAR services led to a public outcry and intense lobbying efforts thus, after three years, operations were turned back over to RAF Coastal Command. Bristow reentered the UK's SAR sector in 1983 when it commenced operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency from Sumburgh Airport; the company held the contract until 2007 and secured it again in June 2013. Other locations, including Stornoway, Lee-on-Solent, and Portland, would also be operated by Bristow on behalf of MCA. Over the years, Bristow's SAR units have responded to multiple incidents, including rescue efforts in the recovery of survivors of the Piper Alpha disaster.During the early 1970s, the backbone of Bristow's fleet consisted of the Westland Wessex, Westland Whirlwind, and Bell 206, along with a handful of other types, including several fixed-wing Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders. By the 1980s, Bristow had entirely phased out the Wessexes; the bulk of its fleet came to consist of Bell 206s, Bell 212s, and Sikorsky S-76s, amongst other types, during this period. Bristow was in fact the first European operator to adopt the Sikorsky S-76 into commercial service. The company also played a leading role in the development of the Aérospatiale Super Puma, having consulted with Aerospatiale to shape its design for the oil and gas market. Bristow decided to place a larger order for 35 Super Pumas, this being the largest civil helicopter order to have been made at the time; the first examples of the type were introduced in early 1982.

Within the company's first three decades, Bristow Helicopters had expanded into the provision of various helicopter-based services, including the provision of pilot training, search and rescue coverage, cargo transportation, and charter flights, in addition to its more traditional helicopter transport services. The business had also developed a worldwide presence within a similar timeframe, providing its services in the North Sea, Middle East, South America, Africa, Asia, India, Bermuda, Trinidad, Australia and New Zealand.The company went through repeated changes in ownership during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1985, Bristow Helicopters was acquired by British and Commonwealth Holdings plc. That same year, Alan Bristow stood down from his active role in managing the company. It was soon sold on as a component of the Bricom Group via a management buy-out in 1988. In July 1990, Bricom was acquired by Scandinavian investment company Rochfield. In 1991, Bristow Helicopters was subject to another management buy-out headed by managing director and chief executive Bryan Collins.In 1996, Bristow Helicopters was purchased by Offshore Logistics, an American offshore helicopter operator which previously operated as Air Logistics in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and was structured as a reverse takeover. The group operates and maintains a global fleet of over 400 aircraft. In February 2006, Offshore Logistics decided to re-brand itself as The Bristow Group. In January 2010, Bristow announced the retirement of the Air Logistics name and Gulf of Mexico operations would operate under the name Bristow.

The Bristow Group expanded their portfolio in April 2007 with the purchase of Helicopter Adventures, a Florida-based flight school, Helicopter Adventures was subsequently renamed Bristow Academy. The deal also provided the Bristow Group with the world's largest civilian fleet of Schweizer aircraft.

Our mission is to provide the safest and most efficient helicopter services and aviation support worldwide.”

We will achieve this by focusing on and committing to: Working in innovative partnerships with our clients Further developing our highly professional workforce Expanding our business and extending our horizons This means we will provide industry-leading value to our clients, fellow employees and shareholders while remaining true to our core values.

Key Team

Mr. Alan Corbett (Sr. VP of Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia & Australia and Search & Rescue)

Mr. Stuart Stavley (Sr. VP of Operations & Fleet Management)

Ms. Mary Wersebe (Sr. VP & Chief Admin. Officer)

Linda McNeill (Director of Investor Relations)

Mr. Richard E. Tatum (VP & Chief Accounting Officer)

Mr. Adam Morgan (Director of Global Communications)

Mr. Steven Sidney (VP of Information Technology & Chief Information Officer)

Recognition and Awards
In 2019, the Bristow Group and their clients were the recipients of multiple awards and accolades, including two National Transportation Safety Board awards and a helicopter safety award from Shell Oil. These awards were in recognition of Bristow’s efforts to promote safety and provide exemplary customer service.

Bristow Group
Leadership team

Mr. Christopher S. Bradshaw (Pres, CEO & Director)

Ms. Jennifer Dawn Whalen (Sr. VP & CFO)

Mr. David F. Stepanek (Exec. VP of Sales & Chief Transformation Officer)

Products/ Services
Aerospace, Information Services, Service Industry
Number of Employees
1,000 - 20,000
Houston, Texas, United States
Company Registration
SEC CIK number: 0001525221
Net Income
20M - 100M
Above - 1B
Traded as
Social Media
Sat Feb 24 2024

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