Helicopter search and rescue service from Waterford Airport

March 2010

Waterford Airport welcomes the Department of Transport confirmation that a preferred bidder has been nominated to operate the Irish Coast Guard’s search and rescue (SAR) helicopter contract service from 2012.

The SAR service in Waterford is vital to the South and Southeast of Ireland given the extent of marine activity with the fishing port of Dunmore East, Rosslare Europort, The Port of Waterford, etc., as well as the sea and mountain leisure activity associated with a number of towns and resorts in the South and Southeast. There have been many important missions since the Coast Guard located here and the service provided by the men and women in the base at Waterford Airport is second to none.

According to the Department of Transport “There will be no change in the existing 24 hour service from 4 centres until the new contract enters on a phased basis in 2012-2013. Thereafter, it is expected that the four existing bases will continue in operation, with Waterford on a 12 hour basis, subject to review.”

Commenting on the announcement, Waterford Airport CEO, Graham Doyle said, “The work carried out by the Irish Coast Guard from its base at Waterford Airport is a critical public service and we are very proud that the base will continue to be located at the airport beyond 2012. In particular we look forward to seeing the new Sikorsky S92 helicopters operating from the airport from 2013. The airport has an excellent working relationship with the Coast Guard’s current operating company, who we understand have been identified as the preferred bidder, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.

The Airport notes that the proposal to reduce SAR helicopter cover provided from the Irish Coast Guard base at the airport from 24 to 12 hours from 2012/2013 is subject to review. The airport would be surprised to see the reduced hours proposal implemented when the full impact is carefully considered.”