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PrivateSky adds Ireland’s first commercial air ambulance
Shannon-based Private Sky continues to add aircraft to its managed fleet and is now also operating a specially-equipped Citation II on behalf of Ireland's first commercial air ambulance service.

Shannon-based Private Sky continues to add aircraft to its managed fleet and is now also operating a specially-equipped Citation II on behalf of Ireland's first commercial air ambulance service.

Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, TD, officially launched AeroMedevac Ireland on March 22nd. The Citation, appropriately registered EI-MED, has been modified with a state-of-the-art stretcher system including inbuilt oxygen, suction, air compressor and inverter, and will be based at Weston.

Speaking at the launch, AeroMedevac Ireland's ceo Keith Trower said: "We estimate that approximately 250 cases of aeromedical transportation occur on an annual basis in Ireland and we are seeking to achieve a significant share of the Irish repatriation market. We hope that over time the service we offer will achieve good support from the Irish healthcare industry and undertake Irish repatriations as well as competing for repatriation missions to the UK."

As an approved ambulance provider for Europ Assistance, International SOS and Mapfre Asistencia, the primary source of work will be from international assistance companies. However, non-insured repatriations and aeromedical transfers for public healthcare organisations, including the Health Services Executive in Ireland and the National Health Service in the UK, can also be undertaken. AeroMedevac Ireland will work with private healthcare insurers VHI, Aviva and Quinn to assist with the repatriation of individuals.

Up until now, there has not been a commercial air ambulance service in Ireland with the exception of the Irish Air Corp which provides a medical evacuation service for the HSE, to other countries for specialist medical care not available in Ireland.

Private Sky's director of operations Ray Mills says that the Citation II can also be quickly reconfigured to a seven-passenger configuration.

As well as the air ambulance at Weston, Private Sky has aircraft based in London, Berlin, Moscow and Paris. Other types in the fleet include Challenger 850, Hawker 900XP, Citation XLS, Learjet 60 and Learjet 31A, and these have recently been joined by a Citation X, EI-TEN.

"The Citation X is based in the London area, thereby offering the market the option of using this ultra fast, ultra luxurious business jet," says Mills. "Our market is a mixture of business, entertainment and leisure clients.

"We have three core functions, aircraft management services, executive charter services and aviation consulting services. Although operating in a difficult economic climate, we have grown consistently in all areas over the last three years.

"We are planning further growth over the next year in all three areas. On the aircraft management side we anticipate the addition of six aircraft this year. On the charter sales side we will increase the charter hours on our current fleet significantly. On the aviation consulting side we provide completion oversight, pre purchase inspections, issuances of Airworthiness Review Certificates (ARC) for each of the types we operate and a complete technical records maintenance for private owners."

Private Sky has used the last three years to invest in key recruitments, cutting and streamlining non essential overheads and diversifying from aircraft management fee income as a primary source of revenue by growing charter revenue and aviation consulting services.

"There has been a reduction in prices across the industry; Private Sky has been able to maintain our levels of service at these lower prices due to their low cost base which has been instilled since the company's inception," continues Mills.

"We look forward to the future with cautious optimism as our business is based on genuinely looking after our clients and ensuring their long-term sustainability."

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