Swedish Search and Rescue S-76
The Swedish Maritime Administration (Sjöfartsverket) is taking operational responsibility for Sweden's SAR helicopters by acquiring shares in the parent company of operator Norrlandsflyg.
Norrlandsflyg has been providing SAR cover for the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) for nearly a decade and is the only civil operator in the country certified to perform SAR duties.
However, now the operator will transfer to state control.
The administration said in a statement on 26 October that the acquisition would ensure continued access to 'sea and air rescue both operationally and financially'.
The SMA will take control on 1 November after concerns that Norrlandsflyg, which is owned by Scandinavian Helicopter Invest (SHI), had been suffering from financial difficulties in recent years.
The SMA said: 'that there is no real market for the procurement of helicopter services for sea and air rescue.'
The takeover required parliamentary approval and the decision was taken on 26 October by a unanimous parliament.
The SMA said the acquisition secures three critical areas of the business: 'the rescue helicopters, permits to conduct flight operations with the rescue helicopter and the unique expertise of the Norrlandsflyg staff.'
Norrlandsflyg operates a fleet of Sikorsky S-76s on SAR duties around the Swedish coast. The company won its first SAR contract from the Swedish Government in 2002, after the government decided to privatise a task that was previously the responsibility of the Swedish Armed Forces.