Squadron has been bought by an American company, British government says
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, might lose his job as an RAF rescue pilot, as the British government has confirmed that the company had been acquired by an American one, Bristow Helicopters.The search and rescue squadron employs people from the Royal Navy, the RAF and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency in missions both on land and at sea.
It has been operating for 70 years, but the government has been planning to privatize it for years.
The Sun confirms that it’s finally happening, but that begs the question of what will happen to Prince William and other pilots, who will be replaced by civilian contractors, if reports in the British media are any indication.
“The award of the £1.6 billion [$2.42 billion / €1.88 billion] deal to Bristow Helicopters ends 70 years of a service run by RAF and Royal Navy squadrons. It also spells the end of the use of the iconic Sea King choppers – flown by the Duke of Cambridge – in search-and-rescue work from 2016,” The Sun writes.
“The future of current service air and ground crews – including William – is uncertain. Some are expected to apply to join the new private service but there are fears jobs could be lost,” the same media outlet reports.
It’s not just the crews that will be replaced, The Sun further writes: more modern helicopters will also be brought, which means that the missions will be able to expand to larger territories and have a higher success rate.
Earlier this month, Prince William made headlines when he took part in a very dangerous mission that saved the lives of two tourists stranded in Snowdonia in north Wales, as we also informed you at the time.
The Duke and the Duchess, Kate Middleton, are now expecting their first child who, according to reports, is a baby girl. Kate is due in summer.