With the emergence of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry, seismograph crews were battling their way through a foreboding stretch of Louisiana marsh and swamp.  Using ground vehicles (marsh buggies) was a very slow, arduous and dangerous way to traverse this type of terrain. The late Jack Lee, a seismograph company president, envisioned the helicopter as an alternative transportation solution. He then approached Robert L. Suggs and M.M. Bayon and purchased three Bell 47 helicopters.

This "fleet" of three small helicopters soon proved that rotary-wing aircraft was a feasible solution to the problem. The company began with an investment of $100,000, eight employees and three Bell 47 helicopters and the belief that helicopters would play a major role in the future of transportation in the industry. PHI was built on a strong commitment to safety, quality, and reliability continually directed to customer service.

Today, PHI still embodies these basic principles. More than fifty years later, the company has grown to become one of the world's largest and most experienced commercial helicopter operators. PHI's  fleet of aircraft offers services to the Offshore Oil and Gas, onshore mining, International, Air Medical, and Technical Services industries. The Company's  highly skilled staff of pilots and technicians gives it great depth in all arPHI has a long history of operating in the Global Marketplace. In addition to North America, the company has operated in more than 45 foreign countries. The company uses a broad range of joint ventures, partnerships and strategic alliances with customers and other operators to provide services to those parts of the world. Additionally, in 2017, the company acquired the offshore segment of its long-time, highly successful partner, HNZ, which expanded the company’s global footprint and international business offerings. PHI´s helicopters operate 250 miles into the Gulf of Mexico and to locations 200 miles offshore in international waters.

PHI provides service to the Healthcare industry through its Air Medical Group. Since its inception in 1981, PHI Air Medical Group has grown from one medically equipped helicopter to over 60 helicopters with state of the art medical interiors designed and constructed by PHI. The current customer list spans the United States and includes customers that are very visible in the Healthcare industry. PHI Air Medical Group is currently providing services that were previously not available from civilian helicopter operators. Along with PHI´s safety record, PHI Air Medical Group's safety record has been without peers since its inception.

Not surprisingly, helicopter manufacturers work closely with PHI and have adopted many of its modifications and other technological improvements. As an example, one manufacturer chose PHI´s stretcher design for medically configured helicopters. PHI also has been instrumental in the development and certification of offshore navigation equipment. Additionally, in more than 50 years of history, PHI has become the industry leader in maintenance, technology, and overall operations. Their overhaul and maintenance facility based in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA is considered by many to be the premier facility in the world because of its technology and experienced staff. PHI employees conduct routine maintenance and repair work, completely overhaul engines and airframes, operate a state-of-the-art painting facility, study and engineer new parts and lubricants, research new procedures, develop new techniques, and maintain a multimillion dollar inventory.

In addition, PHI has developed state-of-the-art medically configured interiors for hospital and medical customers nationwide. Through the efforts of the engineering department and the maintenance staff, the company has provided interiors which allow the helicopter to operate as a flying ambulance and enable the medical personnel to perform procedures and provide services that previously were only available in a hospital.


Each day, PHI crews routinely provide fast, economical transportation of men and women, equipment and supplies to offshore sites, hospitals and other facilities, worldwide. From transferring a supervisor or a vital drilling rig part to changing an entire drilling crew, a PHI helicopter today does the job in about one-fifth of the time required by boat transportation. Valuable time and money are saved in the helicopter support of distant offshore operations, and the men and women who work at those locations work with the confidence that they are only a few minutes away from helicopter help, should they become sick, injured or in the case of  hazardous weather conditions.

Apart from its normal operations, PHI has also become famous for other humanitarian aspects of its business.

Our crews have rescued hundreds of persons from the perils of floods, storms and other disasters. Our helicopter crews lifted 216 people from rooftops and trees in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Donna devastated that country. Always available for emergency use in the areas where they operate, PHI helicopters and employees have flown Red Cross relief
personnel to disaster sites, supported rescue operations and flown public officials to survey the damaged areas. PHI rescues are as varied as they are numerous, and the company prides itself on continuously striving to be a corporate example to its employees and the areas where it operates.

PHI is the Total Helicopter Company. As the offshore oil and gas industry moves further out into the Gulf of Mexico, the air medical industry gets more advanced, and as International arenas open, PHI plans to be able to meet the needs of all customers in all locations. PHI provides customers with the safest, most reliable helicopter transportation in the world and they are prepared to move anywhere their services are needed. As one of the largest helicopter companies in the world, PHI has the ability to expand and grow which allows for greater flexibility and improved service. Thus, as the industry progresses into the 21st century, PHI is primed for any challenge.