The Turkish Aeronautical Association's THK Gokcen Aviation commercial arm has placed an order for a fleet of 17 Eurocopter EC135s to perform medical airlift duties throughout Turkey.
Operations are to begin this August with an initial five EC135s, followed by a build-up to the full complement. The EC135 was selected for these life-critical services by the team of THK Gokcen Aviation and Saran Holding – which won a five-year air ambulance service tender from the Turkish Ministry of Health.
Osman Yildirim, president of THK, says: “We are very happy to realise a contract with Eurocopter and to enhance our strategic and fruitful cooperation in the Turkish market.”
Olivier Lambert, Eurocopter's svp for sales and customer relations, adds: “Eurocopter is committed to supporting Turkey in emergency medical services, which constitute one of the most critical uses of a helicopter.” According to Eurocopter, approximately a quarter of all EMS helicopter operations worldwide are performed with the EC135. To date, some 500 have been delivered in EMS configurations out of the total 1,095 in service.
The EC135 combines an unobstructed cabin, oversized sliding side doors and rear clamshell doors to enable fast loading/unloading of patients, with additional safety during ground operations ensured by its shrouded Fenestron tail rotor.
The EC135 has already been in widespread use across Turkey for EMS services. As reported in EBAN this time last year, Ankara-based Skyline owns a fleet that serves the Ministry of Health for EMS operations and includes several of the type.