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Business Air News Bulletin
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First of three CL650s set to boost Rega's lifesaving capabilities
Rega's Challenger 604s have plied the skies as air ambulances for sixteen years, but now their era is coming to an end. The first replacement Challenger 650 has arrived in Zurich already, with two more hot on its heels.
Read this story in our May 2018 printed issue.

Swiss Air-Rescue Rega has taken delivery of the first of three factory-new Challenger 650s. Delivery took place in Peterborough, Canada, and the aircraft was then greeted with a water cannon salute on its arrival into Zurich. The other two aircraft will be delivered by the end of the year, replacing Rega's current fleet of Challenger 604s, which have been in service for 16 years.

CEO Ernst Kohler states: “Rega's new jet is one of the most modern civil ambulance aircraft in the world. We are ensuring that in the coming years, we can continue to come to the aid of our patients all over the globe in a reliable and professional manner.”

Rega's CL650 is the first of the type to be configured for air ambulance operations. The aircraft's bespoke interior and medical equipment is the result of several years' collaboration between the operator's crew and external specialists, and draws on the experience Rega has gained when flying missions in the CL604. By using the Challenger 650, patients will benefit from wider multifunctional stretchers and reduced cabin noise, while crew will appreciate the latest technology in the cockpit, which will enable it to use higher altitude routes across the Atlantic. Due to the lower air resistance at higher altitudes, the new jet uses less fuel on these routes, which in turn means fewer refuelling stops on long distance flights.

Chief pilot Urs Nagel explains: “As a result, particularly with long-haul operations, we will be able to fly our patients home faster and in a more cost-effective manner than before.” In addition, a new weather radar increases safety during missions, and an infrared camera makes it possible to fly to airports in poor weather conditions.”

Rega is currently also modernising part of its helicopter fleet: six new Airbus Helicopters H145s are to replace its EC145 lowland fleet by mid 2019. They will be joined in 2021 by three AW169 FIPS all-weather rescue helicopters. The company's logo, which is 20 years old, is also being updated. The CL650 will be the first aircraft to receive the refreshed livery.

Rega organises the repatriation of more than 1,200 patients every year, to more than 400 airports.

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