Bristow Helicopters Ltd has taken delivery of a Sikorsky S-92 configured for search and rescue. In March 2013, the company was awarded a contract to provide SAR in the UK, which begins in April 2015 and runs until 2026. Its fleet of 22 aircraft will include 11 Sikorsky S-92s fitted with the latest technology.
Under the UK contract, Bristow will operate from 10 bases that are strategically located near areas of high incident rates. These are Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, Humberside, Newquay, St Athan, Lee-on-Solent, Sumburgh and Stornoway.
“We are very excited to receive the first aircraft from Sikorsky for our UK SAR fleet,” says Jonathan Baliff, group president and ceo. “With more than 60 S-92 helicopters already in our global inventory, we have come to know and appreciate the aircraft's mission capabilities.”
Sikorsky and Bristow have done business together for more than 40 years. The Bristow fleet currently features more than 160 Sikorsky aircraft of various types, and the operator's UK SAR missions date back to 1971, when Whirlwind helicopters were replaced by Bristow S-55 helicopters at RAF Manston, in Kent. This continued with the operation of S-61 helicopters working at four SAR bases: Stornoway, Sumburgh, Lee-on-Solent and Portland, until 2007. In 2012 the company was awarded the contract for northern Scotland and currently operates four SAR helicopters from Sumburgh and Stornoway on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
In total Bristow has flown more than 44,000 SAR operational hours in the UK and conducted over 15,000 SAR missions, during which more than 7,000 people have been rescued by its crews.
Bristow has also expanded to a new base in Kintore, Aberdeenshire. The building, which comprises three floors of office accommodation as well as a warehouse facility, is now home to 46 Bristow employees from the company's centralised operations business unit, who were previously split between two bases in Dyce, Aberdeen.
The unit provides aircraft support to Bristow's oil and gas aircraft in the UK and Norway as well as Australia, Canada and Africa, with functions ranging from procurement and supply chain to heavy maintenance. It also supports the group's SAR aircraft in the UK, Norway and Africa.
Scott Fyvie, global supply chain manager says: “We deliver a 24/7 support service to our global fleet and our new facility in Kintore will serve as the epicentre of our operations around the world.
“The expansion demonstrates the growing role for the team as new contracts come on board and the business continues to grow. It is an exciting time to be with the company and we continue to recruit successfully both locally in Aberdeen and globally, across all operations, to reflect this.”
The company is set to occupy the facility until 2029 after signing a 15-year lease. With one floor of office space remaining to be occupied, the team can continue to grow into the premises.