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British International Helicopter Services Limited (formerly Veritair Limited) is an airline based at Penzancemarker heliport, in Cornwallmarker, Englandmarker, United Kingdommarker, with headquarters located at Sherbornemarker, Dorsetmarker. It operates seasonal and year round domestic scheduled services to the Isles of Scillymarker. Its main base is Penzance Heliportmarker (EGHK/PZE), with services to St. Mary's Airportmarker (EGHE/ISC), and Tresco Heliportmarker (EGHT/TSO), Isles of Scillymarker. It utilises two Sikorsky S-61 helicopters from a pool of nine of the type that it owns.

A secondary base operates from Plymouth Airportmarker utilising two Eurocopter AS 365N2 Dauphin helicopters on behalf of the Royal Navy Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) based at HMS Drake in HMNB Devonportmarker. A Sikorsky S-61 helicopter is also used on occasions for FOST duties.

BIHL also operate two Sikorsky S-61 helicopters from RAF Mount Pleasantmarker in the Falkland Islandsmarker, where they are used for everyday military transport and land logistic support around the islands, where there are few roads and a 12 mile strip of sea separating the two main islands.

British International (as Veritair Limited) holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, which permits it to carry passengers, cargo, and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.


The company was originally British Airways Helicopters until its privatisation in September 1986, when it was sold to publisher Robert Maxwell and subsequently renamed to British International Helicopters (BIH).

In 1993 CHC Helicopter acquired 40% of BIH's voting shares, and raised their shareholding to 90% within a year. BIH became the UK subsidiary of CHC, as Brintel Helicopters Limited. In October 1996 Brintel acquired the Cardiffmarker-based Veritair Limited.

The current incarnation of the company was formed in 2000 with the backing of 3i Group PLC and the Bank of Scotland, through a management buy in of the non-oil related operations of Scotia Helicopters and CHC Helicopter, with the Bank of Scotland providing funding of £22million.

In 2006, BIH finalised a secondary management buy-out financed by a syndicate of investors led by Matrix Private Equity Partners, with the backing of Finance Cornwall and Chrysalis Venture Capital Trust.

As a result of the loss of a South Wales Police helicopter air support contract, the business of British International at Cardiff was sold in May 2008 to the management team lead by Captain Julian Verity. The new company Heli Charter Wales Limited is trading as Veritair Aviation.

Veritair Limited changed its name to British International Helicopter Services Limited in October 2008.


The British International Helicopters fleet consists of the following aircraft (at February 2009):


Accidents and incidents

Although British International Helicopter Services Ltd (including its time under the Veritair banner) has suffered no accidents since its inception in May 2000 the following events were experienced by its predecessors.


  1. Operating Licence
  2. Companies House - English Company 02575976
  3. UK Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Register

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