Gama Aviation has fully transitioned HEMS operations supplied to the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to its European Air and Ground division, placing all SAS air ambulance missions under the direct control of the company.
The current health crisis has shown the importance of connected health services using streamlined, complementary resources, including those of the RAF and Loganair (delivering specialist COVID transportation), to deliver an agile service able to meet the current and future needs of the people of Scotland. The change aims to deliver on that requirement, streamlining the operational control of all SAS flight activity into one entity.
Crucial to this has been the purchase of three new Airbus H145 HEMS-equipped aircraft. Two of the three aircraft entered service on 1 June along with a highly experienced pilot and engineering support team and a new, purpose-built facility in Inverness. The Inverness facility complements Gama Aviation's investments in Glasgow and Aberdeen, providing the infrastructure backbone to improve air/ground patient transitions and maintain aircraft availability across fixed wing and rotary operations.
SAS chief executive Pauline Howie welcomes the new arrivals: “Gama Aviation has delivered consistent, high quality service for nearly three decades with the Scottish Ambulance Service as part of our emergency pre-hospital care response. Bringing fast medical care to patients as well as quick life-saving transport to hospital, these helicopters will continue to support the whole of Scotland when needed during these difficult times and into the future.
“The air ambulance is vital and saves lives by giving access to the best possible emergency medical treatment available, especially for those in remote and rural areas through a network of delivery partners including Gama Aviation and the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance SCAA. We want to wish their experienced and professional crews safe flying and thank the Gama Aviation and SAS teams involved for their hard work in delivering the transition project to completion.”
Mark Gascoigne, MD at Gama Aviation, Europe Air adds: “As the prime contractor we believed there were additional material service improvements that could be delivered using new facilities and a new team. With the permission and oversight of the SAS team, we've spent the last 18 months instituting a change that will improve the service to the people of Scotland. The gains will be marginal, but HEMS operations rely on a constant commitment to improve, and that is what we are focusing on with new aircraft, exceptional pilots and brilliant engineers.”
Group CEO Marwan Khalek is delighted with the move: “This is the product of 18 months' hard work and demonstrates our ability to effectively and efficiently deliver our clients' mission requirements within precise parameters. We look forward to greater participation in the UK rotary market.”