CHC Helicopter has launched a court protest against the loss of its Irish search and rescue contract, claiming that the government conducted a flawed tender.

Ireland’s Department of Transport announced on 30 May that it had selected rival Bristow Ireland as the preferred bidder for the 10-year, €670 million ($715 million) deal, taking over from incumbent CHC Ireland.


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Incumbent CHC claims tender process was flawed

However, CHC has now submitted a challenge in the Irish High Court seeking to have that decision overturned.

No details of its claims, contained in a document running to more than 40 pages, have so far been made public.

But the company states that it is “concerned there are flaws in the conduct of the competition and has initiated proceedings to challenge the outcome of the process.”

Rob Tatten, CHC director of operations and accountable manager, Ireland, says: “We firmly believe the tender we submitted represents the best outcome for the Irish Coast Guard, the staff who provide the service, and the people who rely on it .

“This is consistent with our philosophy of putting people at the forefront of everything, as we have done for the past 20-plus years.”

CHC operates five Sikorsky S-92s on the contract; Bristow has yet to disclose which type it bid with. The operator has had success with the Leonardo Helicopters AW189 elsewhere in its SAR portfolio, including the UK and Netherlands.