Bristow Ireland Limited, Fórsa, and the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) have reached an agreement which will enable a smooth transition of all search-and-rescue (SAR) pilots and technical crew from the current operator to Bristow Ireland Limited.
The comprehensive agreement between Bristow Ireland Limited, Fórsa, and IALPA was reached in December and 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 Limited.
Fórsa is acting on behalf of the technical crew (winch operators/winchmen), while IALPA represents flight crew (pilots).
The employees involved will transition to Bristow Ireland Limited 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 Limited 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.”
In August 2023, 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.
Bristow Ireland will operate six specialized SAR-configured Leonardo AW189 helicopters from dedicated bases in Shannon, Sligo, Waterford, and Weston. In addition to the helicopter service, the new Coast Guard aviation service will, for the first time, also include a fixed-wing aircraft service.
Bristow Ireland continues to engage with the UNITE Union, which represents the engineering staff and expects to move forward with further discussions in early 2024.
Bristow Ireland is currently preparing for a transition to the new contract in the fourth quarter of 2024. It will deliver nationwide all-weather 24-hour coverage, 365 days a year. Under the new contract, Bristow will create or sustain more than 150 jobs ranging from specialist ground support, engineering, flight operations, and in-country maintenance and support capabilities, ensuring its teams and aircraft stand at full readiness to respond to tasking from the Irish Coast Guard.
This press release was prepared and distributed by Bristow.