Written statement to Parliament

Search and rescue helicopters

Written statement by Mike Penning MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.

On 13 July 2011 the Department for Transport commenced a procurement competition for search and rescue helicopter services to replace the existing contracted Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) capability. The procurement process has now concluded, and I wish to inform the House of the results.

A contract has been signed to operate search and rescue services from Stornoway and Shetland with Bristow Helicopters Ltd. A separate contract has been signed with CHC Scotia LTD to operate search and rescue services from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency bases at Portland and Lee on the Solent. Operations under both contracts will commence by the time the existing MCA service contract expires, and will continue until June 2017. Both contracts will be managed by the MCA.

As I announced on 28 November, procurement is now under way for longer term arrangements which will see search and rescue contracted nationally. Operations will commence under these longer term arrangements during 2015 and the future contractor for the UK will assume responsibility for the MCA capability during 2017.