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Bristow wins 'transformative' contract to provide UK search and rescue
Bristow Helicopters has won the contract to provide civilian search and rescue (SAR) services for all of the UK.

Bristow Helicopters has won the contract to provide civilian search and rescue (SAR) services for all of the UK. The SAR services contract has a phased-in transition period beginning in April 2015 and continuing to July 2017 and a contract length of approximately ten years.

Bristow will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92 and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 helicopters that will be located at ten bases across the country. Each SAR base will operate either two S-92s or two AW189s. In addition to the ten bases with 20 aircraft, there will be two fully SAR-equipped training aircraft that can be deployed to any base as needed.

It is planned that some of the military personnel currently involved in UK SAR will join Bristow Heli-copters to work under the contract.

In early 2012, Bristow Helicopters was awarded a Gap SAR services contract commencing July 2013, using four S-92 helicopters based in Scot-land at Stornoway and Sumburgh. The Gap contract is expected to run for about four years until transition occurs for these two bases to the new longer-term contract.

Mike Imlach, Bristow Helicopters md, says: “Bristow Helicopters has a proven reputation for exceptional UK search and rescue services, having performed such services over 36 years with world-class operations that included unmatched flight safety performance, extensive aircrew training, first class maintenance facilities, supply-chain partners, and project procurement and contract management. Affiliates of Bristow Group Inc currently operate similar search and rescue services in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Dutch Antilles, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia and Trinidad.”

Under the contract, Bristow Helicopters expects to earn approximately $2.5 billion in revenue. Jonathan Baliff, chief financial officer, says: “We believe that these contract terms and conditions are transformative from an operational and financial standpoint for our company. The number of helicopters operated, combined with the revenue and earnings generated under this contract, will create both a larger and lower risk company going forward.

“The total capital requirement for this project is expected to be approximately $1 billion, much of which is dedicated to the acquisition of 22 of the most technologically advanced SAR-equipped S-92 and AW189 helicopters ever built,” continues Baliff. “We believe that the financing plan based on our company's capital strength was an important criterion for the selection of Bristow Helicopters to provide this life saving service which requires a high level of safety and on-time reliability, and at higher service levels and lower cost than previously anticipated by the UK government.”

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December 8, 2022
These six AW139s will join an existing fleet of nine AW189s, with deliveries between 2023 and 2024. The contract supports Bristow's UK Search and Rescue programme.
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