With the acquisition of new helicopters and winning the highly coveted contract as the preferred air shuttle provider for the NNPC/Chevron Nigeria Limited Joint Venture, Caverton Helicopter has risen from the fringes to become dominant player in oil and gas services, eclipsing its rivals through efficient performance and enviable safety record.
The oil and gas air shuttle service was a terrain dominated by foreign organisations in the past, which only gave its Nigerian personnel nominal roles to play, but Caverton has spearheaded the local content policy in the sub-sector by recruiting and training indigenous personnel to become highly skilled in helicopter operation and sundry services.
Last week the company feted major stakeholders in the finance, oil and gas and aviation sectors as it unveiled its fleet of Bell Helicopters at its operational base at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
In his speech, the Chairman, Caverton Offshore Support Group, Mr. Remi Makanjuola said the unveiling of Caverton fleet of helicopters is a feat that Nigerians should be proud of, describing the achievement as ground breaking event.
â€œOver the past few years, we went through many phases of development as a company in less than favourable circumstances. Nevertheless, we have been able to operate existing contracts successfully, as well as secure a few new contracts.
He said the largest and most significant of these new contracts is the NNPC-Chevron Joint Venture Helicopter Services Contract.
â€œIt is of course the reason we are here today to unveil the helicopters that would be used for that activity. We are recording some success in our desire to be a financially strong and sustainable Group that puts all stakeholders at the heart of everything. Our safety record is something we are proud and thankful for, and credit must go to our professionalism at all levels. Given Chevronâ€™s global reputation for safety and quality, it is safe to say that Cavertonâ€™s diligent attention to safety, quality and continuous improvement contributed in no small measure to the contract award.
â€œThe addition of these helicopters to our fleet will make Caverton Helicopters one of the largest operators of Bell products in sub-Saharan Africa. As a fully indigenous player in the hitherto foreign interest dominated sector, Caverton has confirmed the mantra that Nigerians can excel and do Nigeria proud in all facets of the economy given the opportunity. Caverton is fast tracking the national content policy by ensuring that more Nigerians are trained and given the pride of place in recruitment into highly technical management positionsâ€, he said.
Makanjuola explained that for Caverton to diversify its business activities, the management is building a maintenance, repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Lagos, which would become operational in early 2019.
â€œOnce completed, all the helicopters in our fleet as well as aircraft from third party operators will be maintained in the country, thus saving time and foreign exchange. Showcasing our newly acquired fleet of Bell Helicopters attests to proactive drive to successfully grow our business in the long term,â€ he said.
In his address, Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru said Caverton achieved a milestone and credited it to the power of vision of the companyâ€™s Chairman Mr. Remi Makanjuola.
â€œI have followed the company since inception, since Mr. Makanjuola conceived the idea of going into aviation logistics. I commend him for his foresight and tenacity for putting non-existent entity company to become a conglomerate and now become a global brand. The contribution of Caverton Helicopterâ€™s to aviation cannot be over-emphasised as the company has filled a vacuum. I am proud of the companyâ€™s safety status even as an indigenous company. It has proven that commitment, tenacity of purpose has helped the oil and gas company through its services. We will continue to support local companies as Caverton continues to raise the bar to become a household name globally,â€ Baru said.
In his speech, Director, NNPC/CNL JV, Mr. Monday Ovuede said Cavertonâ€™s launching of 11 Helicopters marked an expansion of the company in Nigeria, the manifestation of its resilience to ensure that aviation industry becomes highly rated.
In his address, Managing Director, Sales, Middle East and Africa, Bell Helicopters, David Sale thanked Caverton on behalf of 8,000 Bell employees of the company scattered all over the world, saying Caverton has given them the opportunity to provide this service to a Nigerian company.
He said Bell as a company has been in Nigeria since 1964, but â€œtoday we are happy to partner with Caverton. Our plan is to pick and deliver over 800 passengers every day; we will ensure zero accident as we increase our effort to protect our people. With over 50 years of doing business in Nigeria, I assure you that we will be here in the next 50 years. With an enviable safety record for flight operations across West Africa, Caverton Helicopters’ Flight Safety Culture and Maintenance Programme will be deployed in the management of these remarkable aircraft.â€
Commending the group for promoting indigenous content thereby helping the nationâ€™s economy, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who was represented, said Caverton has expanded the aviation sector with additional fleet.
Also in a speech, the Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said he was happy to be part of success story of Caverton Helicopters.
â€œI am proud to be part of this company from inception and watch it blossom. Before Caverton came in, the sector was dominated by foreign companies but Caverton came in and changed the airspace when no one believed that a Nigerian company could have the technical know-how. And the success story is there for everyone to see. I am proud to partner with Caverton. We are happy to change the narrative that Nigerians can provide a world class service company. We hope that in the next 50 years, we will continue to work with Caverton as it progresses because there is great future in this great enterprise.â€
In his contribution, the United States Consul General, Mr. John Bray commended Caverton and Bell Helicopters for successfully launching the brand new fleet of helicopters, which he said is a reliable piece of equipment that could withstand any weather and climate.
â€œI am happy to see US company blossom in Nigeria supporting local aviation industry. We are very proud of Caverton and particularly pleased with the local engineers.â€
The CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema, said he was very pleased with the company since its partnership with the Exchange began in 2014 when it was listed.
â€œI have this believe that the company would become African champion and the event today has confirmed that prophecy. They are already operating outside Nigeria and as it grows across Africa, I want to assure you of the NSE unwavering support as you move the Nigerian aviation industry forward.â€
Speaking on the journey so far, managing director, Caverton Helicopters, Capt. Josian Choms said despite the challenges of doing aviation business in Nigeria, the company has kept the eyes on the ball and continues to be ahead. The strength he said lies in the passion at which Caverton discharges its service to its client which is made possible by productive and efficient leadership and employees.