Heated argument about medical helicopters

14-09-2007, 11:48

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) - Tender worth PLN 500 million still unsettled

On September 11th after a year-long negotiations the health department was to finally receive offers for the delivery of 23 medical helicopters and a flight simulator. The tenderers are Italian-British AugustaWestland and French-German Eurocopter. On their request the deadline was prolonged till September 27th.
The department has a tough nut to crack as Augusta has many objection to the tender specification. In their opinion the resort is trying to eliminate Augusta from the tender. They also vote for declarig it void.
"In the final version of the specification issued by the Ministry on August 31st there are a few technical requirements irrelevant for air operations but discriminating AugustaWestland's mashines", argues Matthew Harvey, the head of the Polish branch.
According to PB sources the specification requires the space between the mattress and ceiling to be at least 97cm, so that the heart massage could be done with straight arms, while in Augusta's helicopters it is 94. On the other hand, Augusta's supporters claim that Eurocopter's beds are situated too low for a proper care of a patient.
The reasons for the disagreement are numerous and it is hard to decide whether the tender should be continued or invalidated. The fact remains that new helicopters have to be delivered by the end of 2010. By that time the act on buying new medical aircraft will have expired and also the mashines being currently in use might not get flight permissions due to their age. That is why the decision is an urgent matter.
At the moment one thing is certain: none of the companies will give up. The Italian-British concern can count on support of the Polish aviation companies in Swidnik and Rzeszow. Their Solidarity even wrote a letter to the Prime Minister where they stress that the government "should take into account (...) criteria giving work opportunities for our employees". Augusta has been in cooperation with PZL Swidnik for 12 years now, so that would mean additional commissions for them, while PZL Rzeszow could provide engines.

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Podpis: KS


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