Bristow Ireland, Fórsa, and the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association have reached an agreement which will enable a smooth transition of all SAR pilots and technical crew from the current operator to Bristow Ireland.

The comprehensive agreement captures agreed terms and conditions of employment, as well as a comprehensive disputes resolution procedure between the parties going forward. The agreement is a key milestone in successfully transitioning SAR operations to Bristow Ireland from October 2024. Fórsa is acting on behalf of the winch operators/winchmen, while IALPA represents pilots.

The employees involved will transition to Bristow Ireland up to June 2025, in line with the intended transition plan and schedule. The agreement has also been designed to facilitate positive engagement and the early and satisfactory resolution of any issues between the Bristow Ireland and members of the union.

Bristow Director, Neil Ebberson, said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Fórsa and IALPA, which is an important milestone in the transition process. We are collectively very committed to a successful transition, and we are looking forward to positive ongoing engagement and cooperation. We look forward to the delivery of this critical and life-saving public service for the people of Ireland.”

Bristow Ireland signed a contract with the Department of Transport for the provision of rotary and fixed-wing aviation services for the Irish Coast Guard, operating six specialized SAR configured AW189s from dedicated bases in Shannon, Sligo, Waterford, and Weston. In addition to the helicopter service, the new Coast Guard aviation service will include a fixed-wing aircraft service for the first time.