The Commissioner of Irish Lights, the keeper of more than 70 lighthouses along the coast of Ireland, has decided buying is better than leasing.
For the past 25 years, the agency has leased a B0105 from Irish Helicopters. The Eurocopter aircraft flies 600-800 hr a year, serving remote lighthouses and supporting repairs in locations too difficult to reach by land or sea. But the helicopter is getting old, said one official, who added the agency is looking to purchase a helicopter with modern accessories, similar to the EC135, for about 4.25 million Irish pounds ($5.7 million).
The Commissioner of Irish Lights is hoping a proposal will generate enough interest in the helicopter community to attract 3-5 bidders. Agency officials want to encourage a competitive dialogue that will be economically advantageous and result in the purchase of a new rotorcraft. An arrangement to share a helicopter with another entity might be an option.
Agency officials estimate the flight utilization will remain stable at at least 600 hr a year for the foreseeable future.