ABOVE: An AW189 of Bristow’s Search and Rescue fleet 

Bristow’s Irish subsidiary has been selected as the preferred bidder for the next ten-year Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) Search and Rescue (SAR) contract, worth an estimated €670 million.

Alongside provision for around-the-clock operation of four helicopter bases in Sligo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin, the new Coast Guard aviation service will also include, for the first time, a fixed-wing element.

The helicopter contract will run for ten years and the fixed-wing element for five years, with provision for the Air Corps to provide the latter after the initial five years. There will also be the option to extend both services out to 13 years’ duration.

The current service provider, CHC Ireland, was awarded in 2010 and is due to expire in 2025 at the latest. The Department of Transport note that “the preferred bidder was selected following a comprehensive procurement project,” and having accepted a recommendation from the Minister of Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Jack Chambers, the Department of Transport will now be working with the preferred bidder to finalise contracts in the coming weeks.

Alan Corbett, Bristow’s Chief Operating Officer, Government Services, said: “We are honoured the Irish Department of Transport has confirmed Bristow Ireland as the preferred bidder.” He added that Bristow will “continue working closely with the Irish Department of Transport to finalise contracts and look forward to integrating our significant global experience and capabilities into this critical public service”.

Rob Tatten, CHC’s Director of Operations and Accountable Manager Ireland, noted it was “with regret” that CHC Ireland had not been successful in retaining the contract, adding: “all of our staff have given 100% commitment to the IRCG and Ireland” and thanking them for their “unflinching commitment to their duty”.