MedAire (Booth H302) provides medical and health services for travelers, both in flight and on the ground. Here at the ABACE show in Shanghai, visitors can get a complete picture of the medical support, plus safety and travel advice that the company provides both in person and via its Web portal. They can also take away a copy of its HealthMap 2012, a large wall map of the world, which shows health-risk levels by country, as well as the locations of the company’s numerous bases across Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Acquired in 2008 by International SOS, which has facilities in more than 70 countries (including here in China), MedAire provides medical training for flight crews, on-board medical equipment, on-the-ground medical and security assistance and a 24/7 telemedicine service, which is staffed by emergency-room doctors. It is credited with establishing the world’s first global emergency response center for the aviation industry, and provides immediate, real-time medical and safety assistance to people in remote locations, whether in the air, on land or at sea.
According to the Kenneth Low, MedAire general manager, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, MedAire currently serves more than 2,500 aviation clients worldwide. In China, MedAire works with both business aviation and airlines, including Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines.
“Asia is a very strong market for us, as our clients are traveling farther and exploring new market opportunities,” Low said. “MedAire membership provides executives the peace of mind that they have medical and safety assistance, no matter where they travel.”
Recognizing the value of MedAire’s services, several business aircraft manufacturers provide MedAire subscriptions and equipment to a customer who buys an airplane. The subscriptions and equipment vary among manufacturers and are based on their aircraft. The subscription provided by an aircraft manufacturer can range from one to five years, after which owners and operators have the option to renew.
Gulfstream Aerospace, which has sold more than 58 business jets in China, includes MedAire’s services as standard on some of its models. Its long-range G550, for example, comes with a five-year MedLink subscription. Gulfstream was one of the first manufacturers to include defibrillators on its own corporate and demonstrator aircraft and now includes these items on every large-cabin aircraft, according to MedAire.
Boeing included MedLink, a medical kit, a defibrillator and crew training and with the eight Boeing Business Jets it sold to Chinese buyers over the past four years. Bombardier offers MedLink on its entire fleet of business aircraft, including the Global Express, Challenger 604 and Learjets. Hawker Beechcraft provides MedAire’s medical services on every aircraft the company sells.
Embraer offers MedAire’s services as standard equipment onboard its Legacy business jets. Embraer is also the first jet manufacturer to make MedAire’s online security and travel alerts a part of the program.
International SOS Services in China
MedAire’s presence in China dates back to 1989, when International SOS established an operational office in Beijing. International SOS, which has dual headquarters in London and Singapore, also has offices in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai. And the company operates five clinics in China, in Beijing, Tianjin, Tianjin-TEDA and Nanjing. The TEDA clinic officially opened in February this year. If MedAire members need “on the ground” support, the broader International SOS network enhances MedAire’s services throughout delivery.
Clients of MedAire can access family-practice services, emergency medical services and a range of clinical services through a network of providers that is unparalleled in China today, said Low.
The support network also includes alarm centers in Beijing and Hong Kong. “Each alarm center provides 24-hour hotline services to all members when they are in China,” Low explained. “Any problem, from lost luggage to a serious medical condition, can be reported to the alarm center, where multilingual coordinators and doctors are on duty to respond to all types of emergencies.”
International SOS has “developed a network of hospitals, airlines and local authorities so that we can deliver a fast and efficient response,” he said. “Through this network we support the medical staff, equipment and facilities that we provide to our clients at remote sites.”
What Is a MedLink Subscription?
A MedLink subscription is one of the features of MedAire membership. Members have access to a 24/7 medical response center staffed by emergency room doctors. If any medical situation arises during a flight, members are encouraged to call MedLink to speak with a doctor for treatment advice and recommendations.
Should additional on-the-ground treatment be required, membership provides referrals to pre-screened medical facilities at the member’s destination.
Membership also provides access to the MedAire Portal, where travelers can view medical and travel information for more than 200 countries. Members can upload their medical history and documents for instant access when traveling, as well as schedule a Trip Watch, if concerned about the health of a fellow traveler.
Other benefits of MedAire membership include: referrals to credentialed local medical providers on the ground; guaranteed payment of authorized medical fees on their behalf; arrangements for medical transportation or evacuation; advice regarding lost travel documents; referrals for legal assistance; access to International SOS clinics open to the public; and communication with family and/or company during a medical incident.