CHC is now operating under its multi-million pound Sterling contract to provide commercial search and rescue helicopter service for the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The operator fielded its first aircraft, a SAR-configured Sikorsky Aircraft S-92, at the end of September. The contract called for CHC to take over SAR duties from Bristow on July 1, and U.K. officials have been discussing with CHC the delays in putting the S-92s into service and the impact on the contract’s deployment schedule. CHC also is fielding SAR-configured AgustaWestland AW139s. CHC since July 1 has covered the coast guard base in Stornoway with two Sikorsky S-61s. Those aircraft were moved to the base Sumburgh Oct. 1. CHC is deploying two AW139s at the base at Lee-on-Solent and one at Portland.
CHC displaced Bristow Helicopters from the SAR duties, which it flew for the coast guard for more than 20 years. That company has redeployed its famed "Oscar Charlie" S-61N, which saved more than 2,000 people during 1,800-plus missions over 24 years, to other duties to Europe.