Search and Rescue Will Return to Manston

Manston Airport, near Ramsgate in Kent, is once again to be a base for the UK’s Search And Rescue (SAR) service, following the Government’s decision to appoint Bristow Helicopters Ltd to deliver the service from April 2015.
Manston will join nine other strategically located bases across the UK.  Bristow Helicopters will operate a total of 22 specially commissioned helicopters – the Sikorsky
S-92 and the AgustaWestland AW189, each fitted with state-of-the art SAR support technology. Two of the helicopters will be based at Manston to coordinate and execute SAR operations.
Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston Airport, said: “The announcement that Manston is once again to be part of the nation’s search and rescue capability is hugely exciting, and when combined with the KLM services starting on April 2, is further recognition of the airport’s significance.
“We will be undertaking detailed discussions with Bristow over the development of their new facility for operating and servicing the two helicopters, to ensure that the service is in place to serve the public and maritime community of the South
East, notably the busy Straits of Dover and coastline.”
Bristow Helicopters says it will create approximately 350 new jobs to support the contract.  A transition agreement with the UK’s Ministry of Defence will ensure continuity of service and experience for military personnel transferring to the new operator.
The new aircraft have significantly improved capabilities to the SeaKing helicopters, which they will replace, including night vision, mission management and increased on-board medical capabilities.