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Bristow signs SAR contract for Irish Coast Guard
Bristow will operate six specialised SAR-configured AW189 helicopters from dedicated bases in Sligo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin Weston. For the first time the Coast Guard aviation service will include fixed wing.
A Bristow AW189, the same type as those that will fulfil the Irish Coast Guard contract.
Read this story in our September 2023 printed issue.

Bristow Ireland is to provide rotary and fixed wing aviation services for the Irish Coast Guard as part of a contract with the Irish Department of Transport. The services will include maritime and inland search and rescue, environmental monitoring, and helicopter emergency medical and air ambulance services, with enhanced mission control and communications systems.

Bristow will begin transitioning to the new contract in the fourth quarter of 2024. The company will operate six specialised SAR-configured AW189 helicopters from four dedicated bases in SligoShannon, Waterford and Dublin Weston. The AW189s will be configured with the latest evolution of mission system.

In an expansion to the current service for the Irish Coast Guard, two specialised King Air fixed wing aircraft will provide operational support from Shannon airport for search and rescue and environmental monitoring. The fixed wing element of the service will also provide highly sophisticated aircraft mission management and communications systems in coordination with the helicopter fleet. They will also be available to provide 'top cover' support to helicopters engaged in long range medical evacuations.

Bristow will deliver nationwide all-weather 24 hour coverage, 365 days a year, and will create or sustain more than 150 jobs ranging from specialist ground support, engineering, flight operations, and in-country maintenance and support capabilities, ensuring its teams and aircraft stand at full readiness to respond to tasking from the Irish Coast Guard.

The contract will run for 10 years in the case of the helicopter service, and five years in the case of fixed wing aircraft element, with options to extend both out to 13 years. The contract makes provision for the possibility of the Air Corps assuming responsibility for the fixed wing element of the service after five years.

"The entire team at Bristow Ireland is honoured to be chosen to deliver this critical and life-saving public service for the people of Ireland," says COO, government services Alan Corbett. "We look forward to collaborating closely with the Irish Department of Transport, Irish Coast Guard and all stakeholders as we prepare to deliver this critical public service.

"We will provide a safe, dependable and innovative service that will deliver world-class search and rescue across the country. Bristow Ireland will implement Bristow's globally recognised and industry-leading 'Target Zero' safety culture in Ireland to ensure safety is at the forefront of every flight we take and each decision made."

The new aviation service will be introduced by Bristow Ireland on a phased basis and will be fully operational by July 2025.

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