Milestone finances Bristow’s UK search and rescue helicopters

Milestone has closed seven of 12 helicopter leases to Bristow Helicopters, part of Bristow Group. The helicopters will be used for civilian search and rescue (SAR) services when Bristow Helicopters takes over the contract on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in 2015.

Milestone will provide Bristow 11 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and one AgustaWestland AW189, which have a combined value of more than $420 million.

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Four of the S-92s are operating currently from the Stornoway and Sumburgh bases in Northern Scotland. Three S-92 aircraft are in other UK locations for training purposes. Four additional S-92 aircraft are in production. The AW189 helicopter that Milestone will provide is one of 11 AW189s that Bristow will operate under the UK SAR contract.

Richard Santulli, chairman and CEO of Milestone, says: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of three years working with Bristow on this bid, and represents a textbook example of a successful long-term partnership.”

“We are pleased to do our part to support Bristow and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as they work to save lives throughout the UK,” added Santulli.

Jonathan Baliff, president and CEO of Bristow Group Inc, says: “We are thankful to Milestone, our primary lessor, for working with our affiliate Bristow Helicopters and supporting the implementation of UK SAR.”

“Milestone is a creative and committed partner. The operational lease financing that Milestone provides is a vital part of our capital plan and enables us to cost effectively serve the people of the UK in executing our SAR mission to save lives,” Baliff added.

The Department for Transport in the UK awarded Bristow Helicopters Limited a £1.6 billion contract to provide civilian search and rescue services for the UK in March 2013.

Bristow began SAR operations in 2013 from the Stornoway and Sumburgh bases. By summer 2017, 10 helicopter bases will be fully operational across the UK.

Terry Spruce

Terry is Senior News Editor and writes for both Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor. He is also responsible for our helicopter guides. Terry has been an aviation enthusiast since the early 1970s. He is a lapsed Private Pilot and ex-Piper Cherokee owner. He has flown a number of light aircraft and is comfortable sitting in the co-pilot's seat or the back of any aircraft. Before moving to journalism he was a banker for 20 years. You can contact him at: or follow him on twitter @Terry_Spruce

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