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Work Starts on New Search and Rescue Helicopter Base at Humberside Airport

March 07, 2014

A groundbreaking ceremony on March 3, 2014, marked the start of construction of a new Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter base at Humberside Airport.

The base will house two state-of-the-art SAR helicopters, operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd, their crews and support team. The base is due to become fully operational in April 2015, when Bristow Helicopters Ltd takes over delivery of helicopter Search and Rescue services throughout the UK on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

“We have been working closely with the Humberside Airport team on this development and look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with them throughout the build and once the base becomes operational.”

The Humberside base is one of seven new build facilities being developed by Bristow Helicopters Ltd, with its infrastructure delivery partner Balfour Beatty, at commercial airports around the UK. As the main contractor, Balfour Beatty is outsourcing various aspects of the building works to local contractors in the communities in which the bases are being established.

At the forefront of sustainability, the bases will include a raft of environmental technologies including PV solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems.

Today’s groundbreaking ceremony was attended by representatives of Humberside Airport, Balfour Beatty, Bristow Helicopters Ltd and consultants Deloitte who are acting as advisers to the helicopter operator for the UK SAR contract.

Mike Imlach, managing director of Bristow Helicopters Ltd, who was at the ceremony, said: “The start of construction of our new base here today is an important and exciting milestone for us as we work towards assuming responsibility for the delivery of UK SAR helicopter services next year.

“We have been working closely with the Humberside Airport team on this development and look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with them throughout the build and once the base becomes operational.

“The base will provide modern, high quality accommodation for the aircraft and crews while demonstrating how buildings like this can be made highly sustainable and environmentally friendly.”

Humberside Airport’s Commercial Director, Paul Litten, also welcomed the start of work on the new base.

He said: “It’s great to see this latest development at the airport getting underway today and we are delighted to welcome Bristow Helicopters Ltd and their partners in this project on site. We will continue to work closely with everyone involved to ensure the construction work proceeds as smoothly as possible.

“The new helicopter base is a significant addition to the airport and we are looking forward to welcoming the SAR team here once it is complete.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty Delivery Unit Managing Director, added: “We are using our extensive experience of airport construction work to deliver this project at Humberside Airport and the others which are vital to the ongoing success of this emergency service throughout the UK.

“We look forward to working with our supply chain partners to provide facilities that fulfil our customer’s expectations.”

Under Balfour Beatty’s contract arrangements with Bristow Helicopters Ltd, at least 35% of the companies they engage to work on the infrastructure projects will be small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

In addition to Humberside Airport, new build SAR helicopter bases are being developed at the commercial airports at Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, St Athan and Newquay. Bristow Helicopters Ltd currently provide Search and Rescue services at Stornoway, in the Western Isles and Sumburgh, in Shetland which will continue throughout the UK SAR contract. The tenth base which will be used by Bristow Helicopters Ltd to deliver the UK SAR contract is an existing MCA facility at Lee-on-Solent.

The programme of new build and refurbishment work across all ten bases will continue until early 2017.

Caption: (L to R) Samantha Willenbacher, Director of UK Search and Rescue, and Natalie Dillon, UK Search and Rescue Infrastructure Co-Ordinator.