Only one aerospace company will bid on the second instalment of the government’s plan to replace the coast guard’s fleet of aging medium-lift helicopters, according to The Canadian Press.
The Canadian subsidiary of U.S.-based Bell Helicopters, which this week won the first round in a $127-million deal to furnish 15 light helicopters, is expected to be the lone contender for a new contract to supply eight choppers for operations on both coasts and in the North, the report said.
The request for proposals closes on May 27, but rivals AgustaWestland, Airbus Helicopters Canada and Sikorsky have all signalled they won’t be submitting bids, leaving just Bell and its model 412 chopper.
Bell ended up being the only bidder in the light helicopter contract in a process that’s being challenged in Federal Court by Airbus, which claims the winner was given an unfair advantage.
The crux of the allegation is that Transport Canada gave Bell a leg up by granting a weight exemption for its model 429 helicopter, allowing it to enter a slightly heavier aircraft than the category permits, the report said.