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Ireland: tender for Sar helicopters

A 800 million Euros service for Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Government has recently published a new 800 million Euros tender for the national Coastguard's Search and Rescue (Sar) helicopter service. The successful bidder will sign a contract with the Department of Transport for a period of 10 years, with the possibility of extension for a further three ones. This is a very important decision that comes at the end of a period of great controversy. 

The current operator, CHC, had been heavily criticized for the tragic crash of the Rescue 116 helicopter in 2017, from the investigation of which it was discovered that the flight management systems for Irish routes had not been tested. Afterwards, the State had considered holding a private tender to award the Sar service, but bids from suitors Kpmg and Air Corps had raised cries of conflict of interest.

In any case, Dublin will continue to lease the Sikorsky S-92 helicopters currently in service. The five aircraft currently used by the Irish Coast Guard carry out about 700 missions per year, at a cost of about 90,000 Euros per flight. The current 10-year contract, expiring in March 2022, is worth 600 million Euros and is managed by the Canadian Holding Company (CHC) through its Irish subsidiary. The new agreement is worth an additional 20 million euros per year.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency