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Bristow Helicopters could move search and rescue service to Lydd…

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Bristow previously planned to base its search and rescue operations for the south east at Manston

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BRISTOW Helicopters is reportedly speaking to officials at Lydd Airport about moving its search and rescue operation there following the closure of Manston airport.

Bristow were due to use Manston airport as a base for its south east search and rescue services, provided on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, from July 1 this year.

However, after the airport’s closure in May 2014, the firm has decided to consider alternative locations from which to operate.

ITV Meridian reported yesterday negotiations are now underway to take the search and rescue operation to Lydd Airport, where former Manston chief executive Charles Buchanan now holds the same role.

A letter seen by the Isle of Thanet Gazette written by transport minister John Hayes claims Bristow was concerned it would have no control over surrounding redevelopment at the former airport site.

The Aberdeen-based company, which won the £1.6 billion contract to provide the UK’s search and rescue services from April this year, had originally planned to station two rescue choppers at Manston.

Search and rescue crews stationed at the site would have covered the English Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

The move had also looked set to create new jobs and opportunities for local businesses, as Bristow pledged at the time to source materials for its new base locally.

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