Bristow signs new SAR contract with Irish Department of Transport


Bristow Ireland has confirmed signing  a new 10-year, search-and-rescue (SAR) contract with the Irish Department of Transport, after being named as the preferred bidder earlier in the year.

The operator will fly missions in six specialised SAR-configured AW189 helicopters from dedicated bases in Sligo, Shannon, Waterford, and Dublin Weston. In addition to the helicopter service, the new Coast Guard aviation service will, for the first time, include a fixed-wing aircraft service.

Bristow expects to start transitioning to the new contract in the fourth quarter of 2024. It will deliver nationwide all-weather 24-hour coverage, 365 days a year for the Irish Coast Guard. The operator has pledged to create or sustain more than 150 jobs ranging from specialist ground support, engineering, flight operations and in-country maintenance and support capabilities.

Expanding the current service for the Irish Coast Guard, two specialised King Air fixed-wing aircraft will provide operational support from Shannon Airport for SAR missions and  and environmental monitoring. The fixed-wing aircraft will provide aircraft mission management and communications systems coordinated with the helicopter fleet. The King Airs will also be available to provide “top cover” support to helicopters flying long range medical evacuations.

“The entire team at Bristow Ireland Limited is honoured to be chosen to deliver this critical and life-saving public service for the people of Ireland,” said Alan Corbett, chief operating officer, Government Services, Bristow. “We look forward to collaborating closely with the Irish Department of Transport, Irish Coast Guard, and all stakeholders as we prepare to deliver this critical public service.”

The 10-year contract has options to extend an additional three years, allowing for a total of 13 years for the new aviation services. The contract also makes provision for the Air Corps to provide the fixed-wing element of the service after five years. Pictured are two of Bristow’s AW189 helicopters.