Bristow Helicopters – a part of the US-owned Bristow Group – has won a government contract worth £1.6 billion to provide civilian search and rescue services for the whole of the UK.
The contract, awarded today by the the Department for Transport (DfT), will bring the RAF and Royal Navy’s 70-year search and rescue service to an end when it is phased-in in April 2015.
The transitional period will run until July 2017 and the total length of the contract is approximately ten years.
Under the terms of this contract, Bristow Helicopters will provide 11 Sikorsky S-92 and 11 AgustaWestland AW189 helicopters that will be located at ten bases across the UK. 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.
William Chiles, president and CEO of the Bristow Group, said: “We are honored that our affiliate Bristow Helicopters was selected by The Department for Transport to provide this vital service for the people of the United Kingdom. This award will employ 22 of the world’s most technologically advanced and safest helicopters which will dramatically improve the capability to save lives and significantly reduce the UK Government’s costs for the next decade. It is planned that some of the military personnel currently involved in SAR in the UK will join Bristow Helicopters to work under this contract, and we look forward to welcoming them into the Bristow family.”
In early 2012, Bristow Helicopters was awarded a Gap SAR services contract that commences in July 2013, utilising four, latest technology S-92 helicopters based in Scotland at Stornoway and Sumburgh. The Gap SAR contract is expected to run for about four years until the new contract starts.
Mike Imlach, managing director of Bristow Helicopters, said: “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 terms of this new SAR contract, Bristow Helicopters currently anticipates earning approximately $2.5 billion in revenue. Jonathan Baliff, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said: “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.”
Baliff added: “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. 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. We are confident that Bristow Helicopters will provide excellent rescue services to the people of the United Kingdom.”