Monday, 4 May 2015

Bristow Helicopters Running Late In SAR AW189

Bristow Helicopters is already a month in to its billion pound contract for taking over the majority of the UK's search and rescue capabilities, yet the planned use of the AgustaWestland AW189 craft has not happened.

Two AW189s were due to be up and running from Bristow’s Inverness base from 1 April, but they've used a pair of Sikorsky S-92s instead.

According to the company's plans, a further two AW189 bases were scheduled to become operational later this year, but this is looking doubtful “The AW189 continues operational evaluation for entry into service; it is too soon to say when the aircraft will be operational,” the company said.

The original plans would have seen Bristow's basing two helicopters at Manston in Kent, however the closure of the airport forced a major rethink. Lydd and Shoreham were both being considered for operations, with the former winning due to hanger and crew space availability. According to reports test flights will commence from Lydd during the first week of June, despite opposition from local residents.