Saturday 16 December 2017

New multi-million euro base at Dublin Airport for rescue helicopter firm CHC

The CHC search and rescue service operates on a 24-hour, all year-round basis using Sikorsky S92 helicopters
The CHC search and rescue service operates on a 24-hour, all year-round basis using Sikorsky S92 helicopters
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

CHC Ireland - which provides search and rescue (SAR) services for the Coast Guard under a €500m Government contract - is to build a new multi-million euro hangar and operations base at Dublin Airport.

The company is a subsidiary of Canada's CHC Helicopter.

It has secured planning permission for the new development at Dublin Airport, which will involve the demolition of a temporary 596 sq m hangar and an office building.

In their place, CHC will build a 2,000 sq m hangar complex that will include the new operations control unit. There will be a minimum of six personnel based at the facility round the clock.

Work on the project is set to start next month and be completed by summer 2018.

The CHC search and rescue service operates on a 24-hour, all year-round basis using Sikorsky S92 helicopters.

It has helicopters based at Dublin, Shannon, Waterford and Sligo and covers the Atlantic to the west of Ireland and the Celtic Sea, to a range of 200 nautical miles (370km). The service also frequently assists in missions to cliffs, mountains and inland waterways and even in pollution control.

Coastguard helicopters completed a total of 886 missions last year.

The helicopter service transferred 61 patients from offshore islands to hospital. It transferred nine patients to the UK, primarily for organ transplants.

In 2016, the aircraft also conducted 20 long-range offshore missions, involving casualty evacuations at ranges exceeding 160km from land.

The longest mission was conducted at a range of 240km west of Loop Head, Co Clare, when an injured crewman aboard a vessel was airlifted for transfer to hospital.

The Government awarded CHC Ireland a 10-year, €500m contract to operate the life-saving service in 2012. The Air Corps had traditionally provided Ireland's search and rescue capability.

The latest set of publicly-available accounts for the company show that it undertook 3,331 hours of search and rescue operations in the 12 months to the end of April 2015, compared to 3,193 in the previous 12-month period.

In 2015, the helicopter search and rescue service completed more than 1,000 missions - the first time the 1,000 mark had been passed.

It generated a profit of €3.4m in 2015 - almost eight times the amount it made in 2014 - as revenue rose 24pc to €52m.

The SAR helicopters operated by CHC have enhanced equipment such as forward-looking infrared, 'night sun' searchlights, satellite communications and on-board paramedics.

Irish Independent

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