CHC Ireland fails to win new coast guard helicopter service contract – The Irish Times

The company that operates Ireland’s coast guard helicopters has lost out in a competition for a new 10-year contract to provide search-and-rescue services.

The Government on Tuesday approved a recommendation from Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Jack Chambers to offer the next Irish Coast Guard search-and-rescue aviation contract to Bristow Ireland Limited. It is expected the contract will cost the State €670 million.

CHC Ireland confirmed it had been unsuccessful in the process.

The new contract will provide for the day and night-time operation of four helicopter bases in Sligo, Shannon, Waterford and Dublin.

In addition to the helicopter service, the new Coast Guard aviation service will, for the first time, also include a fixed-wing aircraft.

The contract is to run for 10 years in relation to the helicopter service and five years for the fixed-wing element. It makes provision for the Air Corps to provide the fixed-wing element of the service after five years.

A Government statement said the preferred bidder was selected following a “comprehensive procurement project” undertaken by the Department of Transport. The contracts are to be finalised over the coming weeks.

There was tragedy in 2017 when Coast Guard rescue helicopter R116 crashed near Black Sod, Co Mayo, with the loss of four lives. An inquest jury found last year that the crew of the helicopter – Cpt Dara Fitzpatrick, co-pilot Cpt Mark Duffy, winch operator Paul Ormsby and winch man Ciarán Smith – died by accident.

The jury endorsed all 42 recommendations of an Air Accident Investigations Unit report into the crash.

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