Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust
English Title:
Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust
First Established:
ICAO Code:
New Zealand


Narrative Summary

In 1989 the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust was formally established to bring a rescue helicopter service to the Christchurch region. The helicopter began operations in 1990. A second smaller helicopter was introduced in 1997 – operating from Greymouth. ‘Solid Energy’ became the major sponsor of the second helicopter in 2001, but pulled out of the deal in April 2013 and was replaced as main sponsor by New Zealand Coal and Carbon (NZCC).

Key Dates

1989 Charitable Trust first established.
1990 First helicopter delivered – MBB BK117.
1997 Second helicopter introduced.

Current Status

Both helicopters are operated by Garden City Helicopters on hehalf of the CWCART and are fully operational.

Future Plans

No plans known.


Special Markings

The Christchurch-based ‘Westpac Rescue Helicopter’ operates in the standard Westpac red and yellow colour scheme. The Greymouth-based ‘NZCC Rescue Helicopter’ operates in an overall white colour scheme with two-tone green fuselage stripes and NZCC RESCUE logo.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The helicopters carry New Zealand civil aircraft registrations.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Aerospatiale AS 355F1 Twin Squirrel 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue
MBB BK 117 1 1 0 EMS/Search & Rescue

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aerospatiale AS 355F1 Twin Squirrel 1 1997 current Garden City
MBB BK 117 1 1990 current Garden City

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

None known.


Main Headquarters

Harewood Aviation Park, 800C Pound Road, McLeans Island, Christchurch 7676, New Zealand.

Organisational Structure

The CWCART currently operates two different helicopters from two different locations – Christchurch and Greymouth.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

The helicopters are based at Christchurch Airport and Greymouth Airport.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

As above.

More Information


None known.


To be added


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