The UK Department for Transport (DFT) has announced Lydd Airport as the permanent base for Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s search and rescue helicopter (SAR) services in the south-east region of the country.

Since last August, the British airport has served as a temporary operational hub for the UK SAR Helicopter Service.

Following the decision, British helicopter operator Bristow Helicopters will proceed with plans to establish a new £7m SAR helicopter hangar at Lydd airport.

The new hangar will house two search and rescue helicopters that will deliver lifesaving services every day of the year.

"This will allow Bristow Helicopters Limited to push ahead with their plans to build a new, state-of-the-art facility."

UK Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: "The UK Coastguard’s Search and Rescue Team in Lydd already play a vital role in emergency lifesaving operations in the south-east and the decision to make this the permanent base for the service will be much welcomed by the crew and the operator.

"This will give the crew real certainty about their future with the service, allowing them to put down roots in the local community, and will allow Bristow Helicopters Limited to push ahead with their plans to build a new, state-of-the-art facility."

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The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Bristow Helicopters aim to collaborate with local airport owners and the community during the facility’s development.

Image: Bristow Helicopters plans to build a new search and rescue helicopter hangar at Lydd airport. Photo: courtesy of UK Government.