US Bristow Group takes over UK search and rescue service


Britain’s search and rescue helicopter services, whose pilots include Prince William, will be sold to United States-based Bristow Group in a 1.6-billion-pound (US$2.4 billion) deal that ends 70 years of military involvement in saving lives at sea and on land. The Department for Transport on Tuesday said that handing the contract to Bristow, which already provides some services, would cut response times by four minutes to an average 19 minutes and increase the high-risk areas reachable within 30 minutes.

“With 24 years of experience providing search and rescue helicopter services in the UK, the public can have great confidence in Bristow and their ability to deliver a first-class service with state-of-the-art helicopters,” said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Under the new contract, 22 helicopters, comprising 10 Sikorsky S92s and 10 AgustaWestland AW189s, will operate from 10 locations around Britain when the new service is fully operational in 2017.