Following an extensive review of all options available to get the Lions’ Pride back in the sky, it has been concluded the most cost effective way will be for the Channel Islands Air Search (CIAS) to acquire a new aircraft.
Roger Dadd, Founder of CIAS said: ‘We have spent the last five weeks exhaustively looking at all the options open to us. As the engineering inspection of the Lions’ Pride continued, it became increasingly apparent that the complexity of the repairs meant it was a borderline decision whether to repair the aircraft or not. After much expert and considered consultation, it was unanimously concluded a new aircraft was the correct way forward and this will be achieved via a three-step process.
‘Within the next four to six weeks we will be provided with a temporary Islander aircraft which will have limited technical capability. During this time Britten-Norman (manufacturers of the Islander aircraft) will overhaul another Islander for us, providing us with an aircraft which will exceed the capabilities of Lions’ Pride.
‘However, it must be noted that, as this second aircraft (in the three-step process) has much higher flying hours than Lions’ Pride, it will have a limited further life. We need to ensure the significant financial outlay required, will future-proof the services of CIAS. We are also acutely aware that we are a charity and, as such, we need to use wisely the funds raised so tirelessly for us as an organisation.
‘We therefore believe that by taking ownership of a brand new Islander in mid-2015, we are then in possession of an aircraft which will most definitely give us at least 30 years of continued good service. However, it is clear that the cost of replacing the 30+ year Lions’ Pride with one straight from the manufacturer is going to be more expensive than carrying out the very extensive repairs Lions’ Pride would have required.
‘To date, the response from Channel Islanders to our predicament has been amazing but we know we still have a long way to go.’
Colin Ferbrache, Chief Officer of CIAS said: ‘Myself and the rest of the CIAS crew have been humbled by the outpouring of support for the charity. We do know that it is often at this time of year that companies and individuals turn their thoughts to which charities to support in the New Year and we would be most grateful if CIAS could be considered. We are just as keen to get back to being ‘the Lifeboats’ eyes in the sky’ as quickly as possible.’