Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) has agreed a contract with Babcock to launch a new air ambulance service from Aberdeen International airport. The four-year contract will see aerial emergency services specialist Babcock operate and maintain the air ambulance helicopter, Helimed 79, from a new base at the airport from early 2020. Babcock already flies a Perth-based helicopter for SCAA. The new SCAA rotorcraft will be based in Aberdeen and will work alongside the existing SCAA unit, as well as the ones Babcock operates on behalf of the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS).
Babcock Onshore director Richard Youngs says: “We are a familiar name in Aberdeen for offshore operations, but we are also the UK's leading provider of air ambulance services and have been supporting SCAA since it was first formed in 2013. Bringing this new aircraft and service to Aberdeen is great news for communities in the north east and further afield.”
SCAA has been operating Scotland's first and only charity-funded air ambulance helicopter service from its base at Perth Airport since 2013. In that time, the charity has responded to over 2,200 emergencies, working alongside the Scottish Ambulance Service's air fleet.
The new aircraft, an EC135T2e, will operate from a dedicated facility on the east side of Aberdeen International airport beside the existing Babcock passenger terminals. Custom-designed for air ambulance operations, the helicopter will be equipped with the latest medical technologies and every emergency flight will be crewed with two highly trained paramedics. The service is predicted to launch in early 2020.
SCAA chairman John Bullough welcomed the ongoing partnership with Babcock and the company's commitment to provide a gold star service to the life-saving operation: “SCAA has enjoyed an efficient and effective service from Babcock for the charity's existing air ambulance helicopter and we are pleased to extend that partnership to operate our second aircraft.
“The launch of Helimed 79 in early 2020 will mark the culmination of a three-year strategy at SCAA to deliver a second charity-funded air ambulance for Scotland. Babcock has been with us since day one and we're delighted to entrust it with flying us into the future. Helimed 79 will provide a whole new level of air ambulance support in the north-east and bring hope and help to those most in need in communities throughout the whole of Scotland.”
Babcock's Richard Youngs said he expected the hard-working charity team to respond to hundreds of life-threatening emergencies from the new Aberdeen base each year. “The aircraft's capabilities will also offer a lifeline to patients from remote communities who need help with medical transfers,” he comments.
Pauline Howie, chief executive at the Scottish Ambulance Service, for whom Babcock already operates helicopters from Inverness and Glasgow, adds: “Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance has been a very important partner since 2013 and provides an exceptional service across the country every day. We value the great relationship and partnership we have with it and are delighted with today's announcement.
“This new service from Aberdeen International airport will help save lives, working alongside our two helicopters based at Inverness and Glasgow as an additional air resource. It will no doubt make a real difference to our patients, especially those in rural and remote areas in the north-east. We look forward to working with SCAA in the future as we look to provide the best care for communities across Scotland.”