HAI International Tuesday: HeliBernina AG - Switzerland

Paul Smith Top Story

HeliBernina AG is based at Samedan Airport (LSZS) in Switzerland, providing public safety, passenger, and cargo flights and conducting missions for the farming, utility, construction, and forestry industries. Its range of services comprises all possible uses of the helicopter for civil flights.

HeliBernina’s team of dedicated, experienced, and friendly staff ensures safe, efficient, and reliable flights throughout Switzerland and neighboring regions. These highly skilled professionals deliver service tailored to each customer’s needs but that always include:

  • Flexibility, including on-call, around-the-clock service
  • Fast, expert advice and execution
  • High-quality service at a fair price
  • Customer-focused, friendly service.

Passenger safety is of the highest priority for HeliBernina. The company-owned maintenance service coupled with regular renewal of its fleet ensures that it meets the highest safety standards and complies with all quality regulations.

Fleet

HeliBerlina owns three Airbus H125 helicopters (formerly the AS350 B3e model), offering room for five passengers and luggage (soft bags and skis). The helicopters in its fleet are maintained to the highest standards.

Company History

Ueli Bärfuss and Leo Caminada founded HeliBernina in 1985 with one helicopter and two employees. The team soon doubled in size, and in the company’s first year it carried 4,500 tons of material to various mountain construction sites.

In 1990, HeliBernina moved into its own hangar and set a record year. Its sales doubled, thanks to the storm “Vivian,” which resulted in countless logging jobs. In 1991, the Eurocopter AS350 B2, HB-XXL, was purchased, proudly sporting the company’s new yellow livery. Successful projects include the small Val Champagna power plant, various film projects, and the major construction site at Lago Palü in the Poschiavo Valley.

HeliBernina was significantly involved in helping to extinguish the frequent forest fires in the Poschiavo Valley, Val Bregaglia, Misox, and the areas above Bever. The winter avalanche of 1999 was historic, and for weeks all HeliBernina helicopters were in use for evacuations, reconnaissance, and avalanche-triggering flights.

The winter of 2003 is considered to be one of the best years in the company’s history. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were held in St. Moritz, and 14 helicopters of HeliBernina and its partners were in use throughout the two-week event. In 2004, the company saw the completion of the 10-year project to develop and install a high-voltage power line from the Poschiavo Valley over the Bernina pass and into the Engadine Valley. During the years 2011–14, HeliBernina took part in several support missions in the field of public security in Greece, Macedonia, and Albania.

Perfect weather conditions, interesting contracts for high-alpine construction sites—notably for a new cable car and chairlift—numerous logging jobs, very demanding aerial work in special forestry missions, protection measures in the mountains, and a renovation project of the Albigna dam characterized the anniversary year of 2015.

Today, thanks to its large and loyal clientele, HeliBernina is firmly anchored in the region. The company is financially independent and broad-based, with public equity. Its varied activities and services are focused in the public domain, in line with its original vision. Although legislation has changed greatly over the years, the passion for helicopter flying still remains as strong as it was in 1985.

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