British International Helicopters to work on $275 million Falklands contract


British International Helicopters (BIH) the largest UK-owned helicopter operator together with AAR Airlift and Air Rescue Systems (ARS) have been awarded a $275 million contract to provide search and rescue support in the Falklands Islands. The contract will include the use of AgustaWestland AW-189 helicopters, Sikorsky S-61 support helicopters.

The deal also includes maintenance, logistics and facilities support for the aircraft at the Mount Pleasant Complex on the islands. The new AW-189 helicopters have been customised by Finmeccanica to meet the operational requirements. The mission includes all-weather search and rescue, helicopter emergency medical services, rescue hoist operations, passenger and cargo transfers and night vision imaging systems.

Sir Peter Rigby, chairman and founder of BIH owners Rigby Group, said: “We are delighted to be working with AAR, a first class aviation services company with a commitment to excellence, best practice, and delivery that closely matches our own.

“Backed by BIH’s twenty years’ experience assisting UKMOD operations in the Falklands, I’m extremely confident in our combined ability to provide all the vital military helicopter services for the Islands.”

Ian Craddock, head of helicopters in the MOD’s defence equipment and support department, said: “We will work closely with AAR through the period of transition, with the RAF continuing to provide search and rescue cover until the new service starts.

“I am also pleased that AAR will be sub-contracting British International Helicopters, who is already successfully providing support helicopter services in the Falkland Islands, to support delivery of the combined service.”