S.E.I. Creates Quieter Cabin
Swiss interiors designer Aerolite has delivered a fourth AW139 EMS helicopter to Norwegian air ambulance operator Lufttransport. The interior includes a stretcher for single- and dual-patient configuration and four “ergonomically placed” swiveling and tracking seats. If necessary, the operator can change the configuration to a 12-seat utility design.
Abu Dhabi-based Prestige Jet (Chalet No. 23) is expanding its air ambulance business to cater for a strong surge in demand for its medical evacuation and repatriation services. Yesterday, the company announced the formation of a new subsidiary, Prestige Flight Ambulance (PFA), which will make a dedicated Bombardier Challenger 604 and Learjet 55 available around the clock to carry patients to and from the United Arab Emirates.
Helicopters again played a critical role in providing safe evacuations and critical rescues before and after twin hurricanes that pounded the U.S. Gulf Coast between September 1 and September 13. But unlike when Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans and parts of coastal Mississippi and Alabama in 2005, this time authorities were ready, with detailed plans in place for Gustav and Ike.
For entrepreneurs, the maturing of a growing market they created comes as a mixed triumph. On the one hand come the recognition, fame and loads of money that flow from not only setting the pace but also defining the race. On the other, there’s the pressure that the inevitable competition brings as other smart people sharpen their pencils and try to top the original business concept with improvements.
Nearly since the first U.S.-based emergency medical services (EMS) flight operation was performed in the early 1970s, controversy has swirled around the practice. In battlefield conditions, where the dangers were more clear cut and the issue nearly always one of life and death, questions on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of EMS flights are rarely raised.
Since 1992 Medic’Air International of Paris has been providing medical assistance with air-ambulance flights and medical escorts on airlines worldwide. The company is an independent medical provider created by emergency physicians.
With its 2007 acquisition of Pittsburgh-based CJ Systems, Air Methods has become the largest civil air ambulance provider in the country. Integrating CJ into Air Methods has proceeded smoothly, so far, said CEO Aaron Todd, but there are challenges ahead.
Princely Air Ambulance will be Pakistan’s first privately operated air ambulance company, UK-based Medical Aviation Services (MAS), which has entered a technical support agreement with Princely, announced last month. Medical Aviation Services in December sold a used Eurocopter BO 105 to the new firm. MAS is providing training in the UK on the BO 105 before it is exported.
The New Jersey State Police (NJSP) aviation unit this spring reached a milestone of successfully flying 25,000 accident-free medevac flights since the program began in 1969. The current NJSP fleet includes four Sikorsky S-76B aeromedical critical-care configured helicopters, which in 2002 transported 1,400 patients, conducted 70 search-and-rescue flights and performed 60 first-responder educational demonstration sessions.