Helicopter privatisation delayed

A deal to privatise helicopter search and rescue services crash landed yesterday after the preferred bidder became aware of an unspecified “possible issue” with its bid, the government said yesterday. Earlier this year, Britain chose the Soteria consortium, which includes French defence company Thales, as preferred bidder for the contract worth £6bn. Transport secretary Philip Hammond said: “The preferred bidder has informed the ministry of defence within the last 48 hours that it has become aware of a possible issue in connection with its bid to provide the UK search and rescue capability.”