Portugal's OMNI Aviation group, which has brought a Challenger 300 into service to expand its long haul capability, can now offer seven aircraft certified for air ambulance flights.
Group member Emergencia Medica Internacional (EMI) based in Cascais has added the capability of two Learjet 45s to its air ambulance fleet. These complement a Learjet 31 and a Learjet 40, which EMI claims to be the first ever in air ambulance configuration, as well as a Falcon 50, Falcon 900 and a Bell 222.
The company's president and co-founder Capt Jose Miguel Da Costa says that the Learjet 45s will have LifePort AeroSled Plus, allowing the installation of two stretchers per aircraft. "The air ambulance services form a mainstay of our business. For more than ten years we have successfully repatriated patients and we have transported human organs or blood throughout the world."
All EMI aircraft have been purpose-fitted by specialists with modern equipment for intensive care, Da Costa says. In addition to one to two stretchers and additional bottles of oxygen, other equipment including high tech monitors, ventilators, defibrillators, syringe pumps and blood gas analysers are put on board for use in air ambulance operations.
"The cabin is transformed within minutes into a fully equipped emergency room," says Ricardo Pereira, EMI md. Pereira says jets and helicopters are in demand for rapid repatriation from remote accident locations in Europe. "There is a need for flights to smaller or higher-altitude destinations and airports with short runways and landing strips. After a ski accident in the Alps for instance, a patient can be flown to a hospital within the shortest time and be given intensive medical care during the flight." But he says: "Increasingly, patients are being flown from the Arab region to specialist clinics in Europe and in addition an increasing number of users like insurance companies, assistance companies, health organisations, private companies or government authorities request our services regularly."
He says the company can ensure that a highly trained aeromedical team will be ready for departure on air ambulance flights at short notice to provide smooth and comfortable bedside to bedside air ambulance transport.
Stefan Buschle, chief commercial officer, says the Challenger 300 will provide useful additional long haul business for the OMNI Aviation Group, which consists of 18 companies operating 55 aircraft and helicopters, and was founded 20 years ago by Capt Da Costa and Capt Rui de Almeida.