GEUS invites helicopter companies to participate in technical dialogue regarding helicopter services in Greenland

Published 11-11-2014

GEUS wishes to enter a technical dialogue with potential helicopter service providers. Every year GEUS carries out fieldwork in all parts of Greenland - providing knowledge and data on some of today's most challenging issues, including clean water, raw materials, energy and climate change. Fieldwork in Greenland relies on the use of helicopters, ad hoc as well as full charter, in some of the most inaccessible corners of the world. In order to investigate feasible solutions, GEUS therefore invites helicopter service providers to express their interest by outlining possible solutions to GEUS needs of helicopter services in Greenland.

The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) is an advisory research institution under the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building. Further, GEUS is a partner in Geocenter Denmark and associated to EuroGeoSurveys. A large part of GEUS's work, which is conducted in collaboration with national and international partner organizations, provides knowledge and data to some of today's most challenging issues, including concerns regarding clean water, raw materials, energy and climate change. This also applies to Greenland, where GEUS every year carries out fieldwork during spring and summer making use of both ad hoc and full charter helicopters. GEUS mainly makes use of single-engined helicopters and often work takes place in unmapped areas. On occasion, GEUS also organizes geological field trips for both professionals and VIP visitors (such as ministers).

Further to the increased focus on resources and other issues in the Arctic and with a newly signed extension of the cooperation between Greenland and Denmark in the field of geology (2015 - 2019), GEUS expects a continued strong commitment in Greenland for the years to come, a commitment that implicates the use of helicopter services in all parts of Greenland.

Helicopter services are purchased both as full charter (where a helicopter with pilot and in some cases a mechanic are available for periods of 3-6 weeks) and in the form of ad hoc flights. The enclosed map shows where GEUS has had field operations involving helicopter consumption in 2014. During the last five years the average number of helicopter hours purchased for both types of services has been 247 per year with the majority of hours placed in full charter.

Technical dialogue regarding helicopter services in Greenland
As of February 28, 2015 GEUS's current framework agreement regarding helicopter services in Greenland will expire. Hence, GEUS is soliciting tenders for helicopter services within the regulations of Public Procurement in the EU. In order to investigate feasible solutions, GEUS wishes to enter a technical dialogue with potential service providers. We therefore invite helicopter companies to express their interest by outlining possible solutions to GEUS needs of helicopter services in Greenland, as described below.

Helicopter services may be required to take place all over Greenland, typically with 1-3 full charter operations per year within larger regions of Greenland and ad hoc services in numerous smaller areas. We expect the tender material to accept bids for both services covering the entire country and/or specific (regional) parts of Greenland only, and so that both bids for full charter operations and/or ad hoccharters can be made.

Deadline: Written proposals for how to meet GEUSs needs for helicopter services in Greenland should be sent by e-mail to no later than December 1 st 2014 .

All information acquired from helicopter companies in connection with this technical dialogue will be treated confidentially and the specific answers received are not going to be published.

Contact point
Marianne Vestergaard
Tel: +45 3110 3038

GEUS essentially needs two types of helicopter services: Long term charter of helicopters that are exclusively available to GEUS for a specified number of weeks (full charter) and short-term ad hoc flights (of duration from half hours to days).

In order to improve our knowledge about the helicopter market in Greenland, GEUS wishes to receive suggestions for solving both types of tasks. As access to helicopter services is just one of several crucial pieces to make successful field operations in Greenland, any information regarding mobilization, transport and logistic solutions will be of great interest. For all services it applies that security of supply and security in general is of primary importance. We are interested in hearing from any company that considers itself able to solve one or the other type of task in any or all geographical parts of Greenland.

Full charter helicopter service to major field programs and solutions related to logistics and transport
GEUS makes use of full charter helicopters to solve different tasks in the field in many parts of Greenland. Fieldwork with a full-chartered helicopter is typically operations with many participants (mostly geologists) and with a base camp from which coordination of the helicopter work is made and where the crew (pilot(s) and, if any, mechanic) is accommodated under conditions similar to those of the base staff. The base camp can be land-based or sea-based and may take the form of a tent camp or be located at existing bases. A significant part of the helicopter work consists of mobilizing or moving small teams of geologists (typically 2-3 people with 200-400 kg freight), located in a radius of up to 300 kilometres from the base camp. Further the helicopter is used to service the geologist teams and provide them with supplies and other necessities. The work also involves reconnaissance, photo flights with an open side window and may include simple sling operations (e.g. fuel drums or smaller rig components) using preferably long line. In such operations the helicopter is an indispensable lifeline, given that the fieldwork is done in remote areas far from any infrastructure, see also Delivery and safety below. Depending on the geographical position and infrastructure in the area GEUS very often provides the helicopter fuel for full charter operations.

What possible solutions does your company see for the provision of full charter helicopter services that could be consistent with GEUS' needs as described above?

Does your company know of solutions, where either the provider of helicopter services or a partner offers other relevant services related to fieldwork in the High Arctic, including transport of personnel and cargo?

Ad hoc helicopter services
Ad hoc helicopter service is used for a variety of tasks. In collaboration with national and international partners GEUS for example maintains monitoring stations located on the ice sheet and in a number of positions along the ice margin. Maintenance of such stations can sometimes take place while the helicopter is waiting. At other times a helicopter is used to carry personnel and equipment to the field for shorter or longer periods of time, with return date and contact points agreed in advance. Helicopters are also used for various kinds of excursions, including excursions with VIP visitors. In addition, ad hoc helicopter can be part of a transportation set-up, for example to bring personnel to and from a base camp in connection with the arrival and/or departure of participants in larger expeditions. The number of persons to be transported by helicopter to these types of tasks can vary from one to >10, but not necessarily in a single flight. Cargo will usually be limited, but may consist of technical equipment, supplies and/or camp equipment.

What kind of solutions would your company suggest for the tasks described with respect to delivery of ad hoc helicopter services?

Reliability of supply and security
Whether GEUS's work involves ad hoc or full charter helicopter services reliability of the agreed service is essential at all points of operation. Field seasons in Greenland are short and large costs are incurred by sending highly specialized professionals on shorter or longer field expeditions to collect data and conduct geological mapping. Hence, all working days should be spent as efficiently as possible, without idle time. Therefore, it is important that work can commence upon arrival and continue throughout the length of the season uninterrupted by for instance absence of helicopter backing. It is thus of paramount importance that, respecting flight regulations, the helicopter is constantly available from the start to the conclusion of the field season. The same need for reliable service applies to all forms of ad hoc flights.

As noted above, much of GEUS' work in Greenland is undertaken literally in virgin territory. This means that the geologist teams that are brought out in flight camps by the helicopter are left to themselves, to nature and to their supplies for days or weeks. Their only lifeline is the daily radio or telephone contact with base camp or with other contact points and the helicopter, whether that is placed in a base camp, in a village or at an airport. In this set-up the safety of a helicopter standing by in case of need for rapid evacuation is of paramount importance.

The fact that the weather in Greenland may delay or prevent flying for hours, days and weeks, only adds to the importance of reliability of supply and safety in general, and to the demands for skilled pilots.

What factors does your company consider of (greatest) importance when it comes to ensuring the provision of helicopter and staff at agreed times?

What issues should we consider in order to make sure that - as far as possible - we always have a working helicopter stand by, and what solutions would you suggest in the case of shorter or longer technical breakdowns of the helicopter?

Manning and operation
Greenland is a special place - in a lot of different ways. This applies particularly to its climate, and to the vast and desolate landscapes that may extend for hundreds of miles between any man-made installations. Working in such places requires a certain mental and physical robustness, experience and flexibility, for geologists as well as for helicopter pilots. In a GEUS setting the accommodation of pilot and mechanic would always take place under the same conditions as GEUS' base camp staff, i.e. the level of comfort may vary and is rarely comparable to facilities offered in more densely populated or urbanised areas

Whether the services consist of full charter or ad hoc helicopter flying, GEUS has a need to be able to monitor its use of flight hours in order to be able to keep track of fuel consumption and to comply with budgets and contracts with partners. GEUS also needs flexible entry point(s) where to address any questions or discrepancies to the responsible staff, both in the field and for general inquiries.

How would your company suggest that we ensure that pilots are equipped and trained to provide their services in a safe manner in unmapped areas far from hangars and modern facilities, such as internet and secure phone lines?

What solutions do you see as optimal to ensure ongoing reporting of helicopter hours used and how should responsibilities and communication lines be organized with respect to optimal customer contact

Download the above text and relevant map Invitation_to_TechnicalDialogue_HelicopterServices_Greenland_2014.pdf (PDF-file ~6mb)