November 2 - One of the main factors that create success in offshore oil and gas development is the safe and timely movement of staff and equipment.

Crew changes on rigs and barges are often affected by weather conditions and become unpredictable, thus unsuitable for scheduled services.

Dubai-based Air Charter International (ACI) has recognised this and offers the industry flexible charter flights to allow crew changes when required, says Claire Brugirard, strategic business manager and head of the charter sales team at Air Charter International.

"Air Charter International is very happy to be working with oil and gas corporations and after collaborating with logistics providers, we have come to understand the complexities of working on such projects and have adjusted our services accordingly. Oil and gas companies prefer to charter aircraft for matters such as crew change and equipment transport because of their flexibility," says Brugirard.

The charterer was recently involved in a movement in Indonesia to provide several crew changes for a prominent logistics company. The requirement was for a crew change for a vessel scheduled to take place every five weeks. Barge crew were to be flown to land via helicopter from where ACI would transport them to the international airport for a flight home.

ACI used a Fokker F100 to conduct the crew change. Before the flight, a number of operational difficulties arose involving the location of various staff. However, these were quickly resolved, says Brugirard.