Three state of the art helicopters arrived at Sumburgh airport today in preparation for Bristow Helicopters taking over the search and rescue contract.
Bristow will take over the responsibility for Northern Scotland in June on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Two of its Sikorsky S-92 aircraft will be permanently based at Sumburgh while two will be based at Stornoway.
The arrival of the helicopters in Shetland this afternoon follows three months of training which were carried out at Inverness airport where they have been training for a variety of potential scenarios and operating in a number of areas away from the airport.
Bristow Helicopter’s European business director Mike Imlach, said: “With training complete we are fully prepared to begin operations of the Gap search and rescue service in Northern Scotland, and we look forward to operations commencing on 1 June from Sumburgh.”
Sumburgh Airport manager Nigel Flaws said: “Sumburgh Airport is proud to be part of the UK’s Search and Rescue network and we are delighted to welcome the Bristow team to Shetland. We wish them well as they prepare to embark on a new phase of operations from Sumburgh. Their work is of vital importance to communities across the Northern Isles.”
More information and photographs in next week’s Shetland Times.
Meanwhile the existing coastguard helicopter airlifted a sick crewman to hospital in Bergen yesterday afternoon. He had been working on the standby vessel Aremis Atlantis, 120 miles northeast of Sumburgh.
The helicopter was back in Shetland at 7.30pm.