Bristow Ireland has been selected by the Irish government as the preferred bidder for a 10-year, €670 million ($715 million) search and rescue (SAR) contract taking over from incumbent CHC Helicopters.

Ireland’s Department of Transport says it hopes to finalise the contract with Bristow “over the coming weeks”.


Source: Drew McAvoy/Shutterstock

Incumbent CHC operates five S-92s on the Irish contract

To operate from four bases in Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford, the deal will see Bristow provide a round-the-clock SAR service.

In addition, for the first time, the coastguard operation will also include a fixed-wing aircraft.

The helicopter contract will run for 10 years, while the fixed-wing element has a five-year duration; both are covered by options to extend them out to 13 years.

Additionally, the contract allows for the Irish Air Corps to take over the fixed-wing operation after five years.

Bristow has not detailed which aircraft, or how many, it has proposed for the contract; CHC currently provides a fleet of five Sikorsky S-92s.

However, tender documents specify the “minimum requirements” for the service are the provision of three helicopters and one fixed-wing aircraft.

Selection for the Irish contract is the latest in a series of SAR wins for Bristow Group which has also seen its subsidiaries picked for coastguard operations in the Netherlands and the UK.