Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand, a recently established joint venture between Helicopters Otago in Dunedin and GCH Aviation in Christchurch, has selected a pair of Airbus H145s in response to the New Zealand's Health Ministry's call to enhance the country's HEMS provision.
Due to be delivered in the second half of 2019, the two helicopters will become the first HEMS-configured H145s to enter New Zealand, and will bolster the country's capacity to provide air ambulance services on the South Island. The rotorcraft will join the two operators' already in-service fleets of BK117 and EC145 types.
Graeme Gale of Helicopters Otago says: “The Airbus H145 was our natural choice for offering air ambulance services. Airbus' industry-leading safety features, reliability, and importantly, excellent internal space and rear clam shell doors, make the H145 the perfect air ambulance, suited for any weather condition.”
Airbus Helicopters head of southeast Asia and Pacific Philippe Monteux adds: “Airbus has a strong history in New Zealand, with our rotorcraft playing an important part in connecting Kiwis across the country for more than 30 years. This announcement signals our ongoing commitment in providing New Zealand with the most modern, safe and best-equipped air ambulance as it strengthens its HEMS services.
“As our partnership with Helicopters Otago and GCH Aviation launches the H145 for HEMS in New Zealand, I am confident that this helicopter will be well received in the country, just like its predecessors. As more healthcare providers across Asia Pacific begin devoting resources to developing their HEMS ecosystems in support of critical life-saving missions, I am convinced that the H145 will quickly become the region's reference for these operations.”
The four-tonne-class twin engine H145 is equipped with the Helionix avionics suite and four-axis autopilot system, which is designed to reduce pilot workload during missions.
With a global fleet of more than 1,400 helicopters, the H145 family has accumulated more than five million flight hours. In New Zealand alone, there are currently 41 H145 family helicopters deployed for aeromedical, SAR, utility and business aviation purposes.