Inaer France has been successful in its bid for the contract to operate SAMU (emergency medical assistance) helicopters in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. The regional contract is the first of its kind for the French Ministry of Health.
The company will introduce five EC135 helicopters from January 2014 for hospitals in Marseille, Avignon, Toulon, Nice and Gap. The Marseille helicopter will be a 24-hour service, and the others will be 12 hours. The bases at Marseille and Avignon will be sub-leased to Mont-Blanc Helicopters.
Inaer flies only helicopters equipped with autopilot, and is said to be the only private operator in France certified for night vision goggles. This contract allows it to demonstrate that such technology can be implemented at reasonable costs. “Managing multiple bases as a regional platform is a way of cutting costs and optimising services for different hospitals to provide a better service,” states md Frédéric Goig.
An EC135 T2+ will now be added to the fleet, bringing the number of EMS dedicated aircraft to eight.