The airline announced this today while stating that the new RRS service complements the company’s suite of industrial aviation offerings, including its fixed-wing service between Lagos and Port Harcourt launched last year.
Interim Regional Director Africa Captain Akin Oni said: “Bristow is a known leader in providing search and rescue services around the world and we have an unparalleled understanding of what is required for this new rescue and recovery service. Bristow operates the civilian search and rescue helicopter service in the UK on behalf of HM Coastguard, having been awarded the ten-year UK SAR contract by the Department for Transport in March 2013, and we will utilize our global expertise to provide safe and reliable service in Nigeria.
“This new rescue and recovery service is a natural extension of our business transporting personnel offshore that we’ve provided in Nigeria for more than 50 years, and demonstrates our continued long-term commitment to the country.”
Bristow Helicopters will deliver the new service from its base at Port Harcourt, which is strategically located to transport resources quickly and efficiently to oil installations in the area. The company will dedicate an advanced Leonardo AW139 helicopter to the operation, equipped with state-of-the-art technology for search and rescue missions, including forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera technology, dual hoist and mission management capabilities.
The aircraft is painted in red and white livery, distinguishing it from other aircraft that transport personnel to offshore production platforms and drilling rigs. Bristow Helicopters plans to add subsequent service from Lagos as soon as the second AW139 becomes operational, which is expected by year’s end. Both Port Harcourt and Lagos will offer night medical evacuation services.
Crews operating the new service are experienced and highly skilled, trained and certified to the highest industry standards. Pilots, Technical Crew, Paramedics, Engineers and Ground Crew are already at the Port Harcourt base and will spend the next couple of months training in the area in preparation for the service launch.
Captain Ibrahim Mamman, Head of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Special Air Operations Unit said: “We are happy that Bristow has provided a service complementary to ours. Collaboration is critical. Every support is required in SAR and it should be commended. It is important that efforts such as theirs are supported by their customers, predominantly the oil and gas industry.”
Captain Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick, Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology said: “Search and Recovery System is an integral component of air operations and transport. The role Bristow Helicopters has decided to pioneer is a welcome development, and it deserves commendation, encouragement and support.”
Bristow provides search and rescue (SAR) services as a core part of its helicopter services in most of the countries in which it operates. Since 1971, Bristow has flown more than 56,000 SAR operational hours and conducted more than 18,750 SAR missions, during which more than 9,650 people have been rescued by our crews and helicopters worldwide.