New aircraft purchase in readiness for night flying

Since 1991 Midlands Air Ambulance has been airlifting critically ill and injured patients to hospitals across our region.

Starting with just one aircraft, the fleet has grown to three aircraft and has responded to over 38,000 missions, making it the busiest and largest Air Ambulance operator in England and Wales.

In that time the operation has expanded from 5 day a week, to a full 365 days a year, flying in daylight hours.

This week is National Air Ambulance Week (24-28 September) and not only are we raising awareness of our "Be a Hero for a Day" Appeal to raise vital funds; we are also announcing another milestone in the charity's history, with the purchase of a new helicopter…..with the capability for night flying including Night Helicopter Emergency Service (HEMS)!

Early trials in collaboration with MAAC, West Midlands Care Team and funded by West Midlands Ambulance Service, using a Major Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT) night response vehicle providing equivalent clinical expertise, so far indicates that there is a need for the provision of the Midlands Air Ambulance during night time hours in serious trauma incidents.

MAAC are announcing today the purchase of one new aircraft, replacing one of the three existing aircraft leased through Bond Air Services. The new EC135T2e will be kitted out in readiness for full Night HEMS flying. MAAC will continue to use Bond as it's Fleet Operator.

MAAC hope to take delivery of the new state of the art aircraft in September 2013, when it is anticipated the full benefits relating to the provision for night flying will be realised.

It is anticipated the cost to the Charity for an extended night service will be around £1.6 million each year. Fundraising is already underway to build further on sustainable donations that will allow the charity to fund this expansion of the service.

Hanna Sebright, CEO of MAAC, said "The purchase of our first new aircraft marks another significant milestone in our history. I cannot emphasize strongly enough; none of this would have been possible without the support of the public that support our life saving service".

"We are very proud of the relationship MAAC has with WMAS and together we provide a gold standard life saving service that is the busiest Air Ambulance operation in England and Wales. With the on-going support of the public across our region, we will continue look at new and innovative ways to provide the very best in patient care in situations of major trauma".

Chris Greenhill, from Bond Air Services said "We are delighted with this significant contract award which underpins the longstanding relationship that we have enjoyed with both the Charity and Ambulance Service since operations began in 1991. We look forward to working with MAAC to fully develop the potential for night operations in the region. "

Steve Wheaton - Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer for WMAS said "The announcement today that the Charity has not only reappointed Bond as its operator but has also taken the decision to purchase an aircraft with night flying capability is fantastic news for all concerned. Operationally we demand only the very best in care for our patients across the West Midlands and both Bond and the charity continue to ensure on a daily basis that those demands are met. The potential to extend the service operating hours into the night is a fantastic development which we will pursue together.


Press contact: Katy Meaney 0800 8 40 20 40

Fundraising & Marketing Director: Jason Levy

Notes to Editor:

Who are we? Midlands Air Ambulance serves the largest air ambulance region in the UK. This includes the communities of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire; representing a population in excess of 6 million.

ince flying its first mission in 1991, the Charity now responds to more than 3000 mercy missions each year making Midlands Air Ambulance one of the longest established and busiest air ambulance operators in the UK.

What do we do
: Every year Midlands Air Ambulance crew attend over 1000 road traffic accidents on some of the most congested motorway networks in the country. In the last 12 months, the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity has attended 1048 road traffic accidents on some of the most congested motorway networks in the country, responded to 175 industrial accidents, 432 sporting injuries, completed 100 emergency hospital transfers and airlifted 188 children.

The Golden Hour: If a patient reaches hospital within 60 minutes of injury, their chances of survival are dramatically increased. The maximum flying time to hospital from anywhere in the region is les than 15 minutes, meaning the charities rapid response is vital to saving lives.

The cost: Each year it costs in excess of £6 million just to keep the three charity helicopters operational. The charity receives no funding from the government or National Lottery so relies entirely on the support and generosity of local people and businesses.

Our bases: The three air ambulance helicopters are based at Cosford Air Base, near Shifnal Shropshire (covering Shropshire and the West Midlands), Tatenhill Air Base, near Burton-on-Trent Staffordshire (covering Staffordshire and the West Midlands), and Strensham Services on the M5 Worcestershire (covering Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire).