Bristows lose MCA S.A.R contract

13th December 2005, 22:19
Press release from the MCA:


The Maritime & Coastguard Agency announced today that it was awarding a five year interim contract for the provision of Coastguard search and rescue helicopter services to CHC Scotia.

The contract provides for commercial search and rescue helicopter services from four civilian-operated bases – Sumburgh, Stornoway, Lee-on-Solent and Portland, running for a five-year period from July 1, 2007.

The service will operate on a 24/7 basis at Sumburgh, Stornoway and Lee-on-Solent, and on a 12 hour day-time basis at Portland, in line with current cover.

The aircraft to be deployed on the contract are the Sikorsky S92 and the Agusta Bell AB139. There will be two S92s based at Stornoway and two at Sumburgh, with two AB139s based at Lee-on-Solent and one at Portland.

John Astbury, Chief Coastguard and Director of Maritime Operations said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce the award of this contract today which will utilise differing aircraft specifically for the varying coastline we enjoy in the United Kingdom. These new aircraft will be able to fly more quickly, and will be able to fly farther to people in distress at sea than those currently in use.

“These new aircraft will come on line from mid 2007, and will be specifically kitted with various items of advanced technical equipment, including an on board automatic identification system (AIS), specifically designed for the challenges of search and rescue in the 21st Century.”

Managing Director of CHC’s European operations, Keith Mullett, said:

“We look forward to fulfilling this key role and taking search and rescue work into a new era. We set out a vision of a technology-focused service using faster and more capable aircraft, and are delighted that that vision is to be realised.

“We are totally committed to providing an enhanced service, fitting of the challenges facing search and rescue work today. It is our intention to harness our extensive search and rescue experience elsewhere in the world, to ensure we meet that commitment.

“We will also look to deploy the immense experience and expertise of the incumbent crews. Further, we look forward to developing a good working relationship with the communities where we will be based.”

CHC’s contract project leader Steve Duffy said:

“These aircraft are able to fly faster and further than those currently in use. Beyond these advantages, however, they will also deploy a range of new technological assets to maximise their effectiveness in search and rescue work.

“Both models of aircraft are in use on a variety of commercial duties around the world, proving their operational effectiveness and reliability.

“The aircraft to be used on this service have been designed specifically to perform this vital duty to the highest standards, serving their respective areas in the most effective and efficient manner possible.”

CHC already undertakes search and rescue and emergency helicopter services in Ireland, Africa, Australia and Norway.

13th December 2005, 23:21
Swings and Roundabouts Coastie but is CHC not buying everyone out these days

14th December 2005, 00:00
I've not heard of them before. I believe that the current Bristows crews will be transferred, though don't quote me, but it will be the end of Oscar Charlie. (What will the Bairns at Sumburgh airport do without OC's play area?????????!!!!) She has a lot of affection in Shetland, I once took a call from a bloke who had a tail rotor in his shed that would fit her when it had wrongly been reported that she had damaged hers!