Air Methods, the largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S., continued its foray into the air-tour business last week when it signed an agreement to acquire Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for an undisclosed sum. Blue Hawaiian operates a mixed fleet of 24 Eurocopter EC130s and AS350s and operates tours on five of Hawaii’s six islands. Blue Hawaiian posted revenues of $47 million in 2012.
The Pilatus PC-12 turboprop single is gaining ground as a cost-effective alternative to helicopter air ambulances.
Bad weather, fewer patient transports and a higher percentage of uninsured patients combined to create a surprise loss during the first quarter at Air Methods, the largest air ambulance provider in the U.S. CEO Aaron Todd hinted that the downturn was just temporary.
At Heli-Expo yesterday, Eurocopter introduced a new model intended to help maintain its market position, the EC135T3/P3, which is making its debut here. The company reported a 15-percent growth in revenues in 2012 despite a decrease in deliveries over 2011.
Last December Air Methods announced orders for 42 new Eurocopter and Bell helicopters, issued a special cash dividend and announced a three-for-one stock split. It also acquired the assets of Las Vegas air-tour operator Sundance Helicopters, including its fleet of 22 Eurocopter AS350s and EC130s.
Several helicopter EMS accidents occurred over the last couple of months in the U.S.
Air Methods, the nation’s largest air ambulance provider, ended last year by placing orders for 42 new helicopters, including 20 Bell 407GX singles and 22 Eurocopters (10 EC130T2 and six AS350B3e light singles, and six EC135P2e light twins). All of the helicopters ordered are recently upgraded and improved editions of legacy models and feature new avionics and/or enhanced performance. The Eurocopter order is valued at more than $80 million. Deliveries are scheduled for 2014 and 2015.
A Eurocopter BK117 operated as an emergency medical service (EMS) flight by Air Methods crashed into a farmer’s field near Compton, Ill., at about 8 p.m. on December 11. The three people on board–the pilot and two flight nurses–were killed. There were no patients on board at the time of the accident. The crash occurred shortly after the pilot radioed he was returning to base due to poor weather where light snow had been reported. The helicopter was registered to Rockford Memorial Hospital, located 90 miles northwest of Chicago.
Air Methods, the largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S., posted an exceptionally strong second quarter. Revenue at the company increased to $222.5 million, a 48-percent jump from the same quarter last year.
In the first six months, Air Methods reported revenue of $413.3 million, up 47 percent versus the same period last year. Net income for the quarter increased 217 percent to $31.4 million, compared with the prior-year second-quarter net income of $9.9 million. For the first six months, net income increased by 181 percent to $43.9 million.
For the first six months of the year, the nation’s largest helicopter EMS provider reported revenues of $282.1 million, up 9 percent from the same period a year ago. Net income for the period increased by 25 percent, to $16.1 million. Net revenue per community-based transport increased to $9,008, a 10-percent increase from the prior year quarter. However, hospital-based revenue dipped by 1 percent.
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