The Department for Transport has said that under the new contract helicopters will be able to reach a larger area of the UK Search and Rescue region within an hour of take-off than is currently possible.
It added that, based on historic incident data, it is estimated there will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20 percent (from 23 to 19 minutes).
Presently, approximately 70 percent of high and very high-risk areas within the UK SAR region are reachable by helicopter within 30 minutes. Under the new contract, approximately 85 percent of the same area would be reached within this time frame.
More top news
Tougher regulations coming into effect today are intended to crack down on motorists driving under the influence of drugs.
A Finnish punk band whose members have autism and Down's Syndrome have been chosen as the country's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The PM promises to double to 200,000 the number of homes built under an existing scheme aimed at easing Britain's housing shortage.