The skies over Vancouver are about to get a bit more crowded. That's right Chopper 9 will be getting some company when flying over breaking news stories or special events.
We learned Thursday that our rivals are getting into the ENG helicopter game. Canwest Global inked a deal with Global Traffic Networks to provide air cover in the on going battle for TV sets. Our competitor will be in the sky shortly with an R44 Raven ENG package.
The announcement came as really no surprise. What is interesting is Canwest plans to launch air operations in 5 markets with this deal. Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Hamilton are the Global stations to which air operations will be a new thing. Toronto already has an ENG copter, but is either adding a second machine or the flight arangement for the current machine ( an A- Starr) has expired and the capability is being replace with an R-44. In any event, the news wars just got more interesting.
Before this announcement, there were only 4 dedicated ENG helicopters in the whole country. There were 2 in Toronto CTV( CFTO), and Global, one in Montreal TVA and one in Vancouver CTV.
I am looking forward to the competition. Competition always make teams, in this case news gathering teams, play better, play smarter. Bring it on.