Rescue helicopters privatised

A centre in Kent will be re-opened under a new £1.6bn contract awarded to a private company to provide helicopter rescue services across the UK.

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Lee-on-Solent helicopter base remains

Under a new private contract awarded to provide helicopter search andrescue services in the south and elsewhere, 10 helicopters will operate, two per site, from Lee on Solent and a new hangar at Prestwick Airport.

New bases will also be established at St Athan, Inverness and Manston airports.

All the bases will be operational 24 hours a day. The contract will be managed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the same way as the existing contract that operates the Coastguard helicopter bases on the south coast and on the Western and Shetland Isles.

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