Government signs €800m search and rescue helicopter contract with new provider

State awarded contract to UK-based Bristow Limited over current provider CHC Ireland, provoking sharp backlash from the firm

The Department of Transport announced today that it had signed the contract with Bristow Limited, which currently operates the helicopter search and rescue service in Britain

The government has signed a new €800 million search and rescue helicopter contract in the face of opposition from the current operator.

Since 2012, the contract for flying around 800 search-and-rescue missions annually has been outsourced to CHC Ireland, a subsidiary of the US-owned Canadian Helicopter Corporation.

CHC Ireland had bid for the new helicopter search and rescue contract, but the government announced in May that it had selected Bristow Limited, a British firm, as ...