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Erickson lands Coast Guard contract in Alaska

While overseas energy exploration work is still hard to come by, Erickson is finding opportunity in a long-time stronghold — Alaska.

The aviation firm, best known for its fleet of Sikorsky aircranes and air tankers, has landed a helicopter transportation services contract with the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska.

The deal won't involve the S-64s but will feature a more recent addition to Erickson's lineup, Bell 212 helicopters.

The Bell 212s will transport USCG Research and Development Center staff and equipment throughout the Nome, Alaska, region through the end of August. Contract work began June 13.

Erickson's manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul work are performed at the Medford airport and a plant on Willow Springs Road in Central Point.

Erickson has worked in the Alaska market for more than 50 years, with operations in multiple locations throughout the state, supporting several industries. For near-shore oil and gas customers, the company provides transport of passengers and cargo in the Cook Inlet and North Slope. It has also provided an aerial school bus for rural students. From a base in Nome, Erickson transports residents to the island of Little Diomede, the westernmost point of the United States. The company has also worked on utility and infrastructure construction outside its Anchorage base.

Erickson recently got a helicopter support contract for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources' Forest Inventory Analysis project.

When global oil prices fell and exploration subsided, Erickson saw a key revenue stream dwindle, followed by the loss of U.S. Forest Service contracts to fight fires.

In 2015, Erickson's revenue slumped 14 percent to $297.5 million — its first sales decline since going public in April 2012. The company has posted annual losses in 2014 and 2015, losing $86.6 million last year.