Bristow signs search and rescue contract in Ireland

Renewing Air Rescue in Ireland: Bristow and the New Era of Search and Rescue for the Coastguard

On 22 August 2023, Bristow Ireland officially signed a contract with the Irish government to provide search and rescue (SAR) services using helicopters and turboprop aircraft to serve the Irish Coast Guard.

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2024, Bristow will take over the operations that are currently managed by CHC Ireland. This important step has been undertaken in collaboration with the Irish Department of Transport and marks a significant change in the rescue services offered in Ireland.

The new rescue vehicles

To carry out these SAR missions, Bristow will deploy six Leonardo AW189 helicopters configured for search and rescue. These helicopters will be based at four dedicated sites located at Sligo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin Weston airports.

AW189-medical-cabin-flex_732800Another important innovation is the introduction of the use of two King Air turboprop aircraft, which will be stationed at Shannon Airport and used for both search and rescue and environmental monitoring missions. This is the first time that turboprop aircraft operations are included in the Irish Coast Guard’s search and rescue contract.

The rescue service will operate 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, ensuring an effective response at all times and in all weather conditions. The contract was signed for a duration of 10 years, with the possibility of extending it for a further three years.
It should be recalled that the award of this contract to Bristow was announced as the preferred one back in May 2023. However, due to a legal challenge filed by CHC Ireland, the entry into force of the contract was delayed.

‘A life-saving service for the Irish people’

Following the signing of the contract, Alan Corbett, Chief Operating Officer for Bristow Government Services, said: ‘The entire team at Bristow Ireland Limited is honoured to have been chosen to provide this critical and life-saving public service for the Irish people. We look forward to working closely with the Irish Department of Transport, the Irish Coast Guard and all stakeholders as we prepare to deliver this essential public service.”

This agreement represents a key step in ensuring safety and emergency relief for Irish citizens. The presence of Bristow, a company with extensive experience in search and rescue services, will increase the capacity and efficiency of rescue operations in Ireland, helping to protect lives and resources in emergency situations.


Leonardo S.p.A.



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