Bristow Group to take over UK search and rescue from RAF | Vital Forums

Bristow Group to take over UK search and rescue from RAF

Etouffee

Vital Squad Member
#1
<p><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21934077" target="_blank">http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21934077</a></p><p>&nbsp;<img src="http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/66605000/jpg/_66605313_bristow.jpg" width="304" height="171" border="0" />&nbsp;</p><p>Not sure if this made much of a blip on the radar in the UK but this is a big win for the company I work for. &nbsp;I have been tracking the aircraft in the pic for the last few weeks while it and G-MCGB have been doing trials in Inverness.&nbsp;</p><p class="introduction">&nbsp;</p><p class="introduction"><font style="">A private company will take over the UK's helicopter search and rescue operations, the Department for Transport has announced.</font></p><p><font style="">The Bristow Group has won a 10-year contract to run the service from 2015.</font></p><p><font style="">The &pound;1.6bn deal ends 70 years of search and rescue from the RAF and Royal Navy.</font></p><p><font style="">Bristow will replace ageing RAF and Royal Navy Sea King helicopters with modern Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland 189s.</font></p><p><font style="">Under the new contract, 22 helicopters will operate from 10 locations around the UK.</font></p><p><font style="">Ten S-92s will be based, two per site, at Stornoway and Sumburgh, and at new bases at Newquay, Caernarfon and Humberside airports.</font></p><p><font style="">Ten AW189s will operate, two per site, from Lee-on-the-Solent and a new hangar at Prestwick airport, and new bases which will be established at St Athan, Inverness and Manston airports.</font></p><p><font style="">All bases will be operational 24 hours a day, and half of the new fleet will be built in Yeovil, Somerset.</font></p><p><font style="">The new deal will also see Bristow take over some of the civilian SAR bases currently run by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.</font></p><p><font style="">Bristow Helicopters is an Aberdeen-based company, although the corporate headquarters of the Bristow Group is in Texas.</font></p><p><font style="">The firm has already been preparing crews for coastguard duties at Sumburgh in Shetland and Stornoway in the Western Isles.</font></p><p><font style="">The other current search and rescue (SAR) bases are Culdrose, Wattisham, Valley, Boulmer, Portland, Lee-on-the-Solent, Chivenor, Leconfield, Lossiemouth and Prestwick.</font></p><p><font style="">There will continue to be an RAF base at Valley, Anglesey, but the SAR unit will be in Caernarfon.</font></p><p><font style="">The new service run by Bristow will be fully rolled out by summer 2017.</font></p><span class="cross-head" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 16px; display: block; text-rendering: optimizelegibility;"><font style="">'Great confidence'</font></span><p><font style="">The Department for Transport began the procurement process in November 2011 for providing SAR helicopter services on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.</font></p><p><font style="">It wanted an all-weather SAR helicopter service able to operate throughout the UK, including mountainous terrain and at sea.</font></p><p><font style="">Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: &quot;Our search and rescue helicopter service plays a crucial role, saving lives and providing assistance to people in distress on both land and on sea.</font></p><p><font style="">&quot;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.&quot;</font></p><p><font style="">The government says the new deal means helicopters &quot;will be able reach a larger area of the UK search and rescue region within one hour of take off than is currently possible&quot;.</font></p><p><font style="">It also estimates, based on historic data, that there will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20% - from 23 to 19 minutes.</font></p><p><font style="">Bristow's website says its helicopters and pilots have already rescued more than 7,000 people in the UK. It also operates in the Netherlands, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Russia, Brazil and Canada.&nbsp;</font></p><p>&nbsp;</p><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21934077" target="_blank"></a>
 

murph

Vital Champions League
#2
Good thing for you, but it should never have gone to an overseas company especially a US one (no offence and all that.)

Here is a reason why:

US Tanker contract awarded to European company, many components for the aircraft made in the UK for example.

Boeing cried unfair, the whole thing was re-started and surprise surprise, Boeing's KC767 met the requirements!
 

Etouffee

Vital Squad Member
#3
Funny thing is Murph although the Headquarters is based in Houston the name Bristow is UK all the way. When Air Logistics and Bristow merged many years ago the company thought the Bristow name carried more weight so we became Bristow. Also Bristow worked for many years doing SAR alongside of the UK Coastguard.

So yes the company is run from a US Location but there is a lot of British Heritage in the company.
 

Etouffee

Vital Squad Member
#4
Here is a good read about Alan Bristow who founded Bristow Helicopters. It's his Obit (RIP) but tells a good story.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/may/05/obituary-alan-bristow
 

Jonah

Vital Football Legend
#5
Let's just hope they don't employ any former US Air Force pilots.

Can you get 'friendly fire' incidents in search and rescue?


 

The Fear

A Wise Man (once sat next to him)
#7
This is a brilliant idea, not as if we have our own companies, forces and industry to support. Far, far better to contract this all out.

 
#9
I'm not sure why this even has to go into private hands. I guess it will be ambulance services next, followed by the police, education and the remaining NHS hospitals and then the military before finally privatising the government when there will no doubt be a 4 yearly handover of power between Tesco and Virgin.
 

murph

Vital Champions League
#10
As much as I disagree with it, it was not a surprise to me.

All of the RAF's elementary flying training is completed using aircraft, on the civil (not military) register. These are leased from Babcock Aerospace.

There are also civilian contractors in such places as:

Accomodation / messing.
Survival Equipment (Parachutes etc.)
Transport / Logistics

Throughout the RAF at least (I'd imagine all 3 services.)

 

Etouffee

Vital Squad Member
#11
Most military rotorwing training is done predominantly by civilian contractors. At Ft Rucker in the US there are quite a few civilians involved. I know that Bristow Academy does training for the UK military over there and here in the states there are a lot of South American military who come to train at the Academy.

And I think most of you miss the point that Bristow might be based in Houston now, but it's roots and much of it's business is in the UK and they employ a large number of people in the UK. Many of our upper management are British and that is a very important part of Bristow being a global company.

 
#12
I have nothing against Bristow or any other company involved in this industry however, I do believe that certain things are sacrosanct when is comes to being a state run service that only exists for the common good.

The concept of a run for profit company has no place in the safety and security of the public unless it is to provide additional cover, such as private security, or ancillary services, such as training, catering and material supplies.

If the reason for going private is that they can do it cheaper with no reduction in cover or quality then the government agency should look to private industry to emulate them, see where they are making savings and do the same.

Private companies often run things more cheaply than government agencies for 2 reasons, one is more efficient running, motivated by the need to protect financial margins, the other is cutting in quality. Assuming there is no drop in quality then those responsible in government should make those responsible as service providers accountable, not just for the physical job they do but also for their budget, so that they are forced to achieve the same financial cost structure that any private company would. This would not only ensure safety and security remains a public good, it would also provide it at an even lower price.

I am fully aware that many of the financial regulations that allow private companies to do things cheaper are related to tax exemptions and other forms of tax relief but ultimately that still all comes out of the same pot, although a different part of the national budget, so why not just apply the same tax rules to the government agency?


Oh I do like a good ramble. Lol
 

BodyButter

Vital Football Legend
#13
Is anyone else imagining someone drowning in the sea and the rescue guy shouting questions to him about how much cash he has on him or if he'd like to pay by credit card?
 
#14
BodyButter - 27/3/2013 14:12

Is anyone else imagining someone drowning in the sea and the rescue guy shouting questions to him about how much cash he has on him or if he'd like to pay by credit card?
:1: :1: We've all heard about patients being turned away fro US hospitals because they lacked insurance or were covered by an insurer not affiliated with that particular hospital so............ :15:


 

Etouffee

Vital Squad Member
#15
Does the government in the UK supply Air Medical transport?

Anyway some part of the UK SAR has always been in private hands. The news seems to have left that part of the story out.

Here is some background on the Historic Oscar Charlie SAR aircraft operated by Bristow. http://shetlopedia.com/Coastguard_Rescue_Helicopters_Shetland

And here is some information about one of the rescues that had to be done by Oscar Charlie http://shetlopedia.com/Lunokhods. They pulled 56 crew members from this ship.
 

The Fear

A Wise Man (once sat next to him)
#16
BodyButter - 27/3/2013 13:12

Is anyone else imagining someone drowning in the sea and the rescue guy shouting questions to him about how much cash he has on him or if he'd like to pay by credit card?
:1: :1:

They should just be honest and privatise the rest of the UK. Maggie and her lot started it, gave half the country away, just sell the rest and have done with ffs.

:21:
 
#18
Etouffee - 27/3/2013 19:02

Does the government in the UK supply Air Medical transport?
The air ambulance service is part of the ambulance service and as such it is part of the NHS, so yes, it's a government provided service. That does not mean that, should the need arise, they are prevented from hiring in external contractors but that would be the exception and not the rule. This being the case there can't be that many private actors in the market that are trained and equipped to the required standard so I'm not sure who the would contract in.
 

Etouffee

Vital Squad Member
#19
VOTN all Air Medical in the US is done by private firms. Some of our main competitors here in the Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas transport business also do Air Med. Some companies just do Air Med. None are run by the government.

Thanks for clearing that up and helps me to understand the reservation a bit more.
 

The Fear

A Wise Man (once sat next to him)
#20
They are starting to privatise everything though Etouffee, instead of our country benefiting, it will be big companies providing a no better service and then making a bomb (we have privatised military provisions as well!)