The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand Limited has selected Airbus’ H145, in response to New Zealand’s Health Ministry’s call to enhance its helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) industry.
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 modern, state-of-the-art air ambulance services in the nation’s south.
The two helicopters will be operated on the South Island by the consortium formed by Helicopters Otago (Dunedin) and GCH Aviation (Christchurch) and will become the flagship of their already in-service fleets of the BK117 and EC145.
In speaking of the new aircraft, Graeme Gale of Helicopters Otago said, “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 clamshell doors, make the H145 the perfect air ambulance, suited for any weather condition.”
Philippe Monteux, Head of Southeast Asia and Pacific of Airbus Helicopters spoke of the pride in supporting New Zealand’s vital aeromedical providers: “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. Today’s announcement signals our on-going 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 the 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 HEMS operations,” Monteux added.
The H145 is the market leader for emergency medical services and rescue missions, thanks to its exceptional HEMS heritage and safety record with its BK117 and EC145 predecessors. Its popularity is attributed to its high performance and spacious cabin, agility and ability to quickly convert from an air ambulance to other roles such as disaster relief or mountain rescue. The 4-tonne-class twin-engine H145 is equipped with state-of-the-art Helionix avionics suite and 4-axis autopilot system, which helps to reduce pilot workload during missions.
With a global fleet of more than 1,400 helicopters of the H145 family, the fleet has accumulated more than five million flight hours. In New Zealand alone, there are currently 41 H145 family of helicopters deployed for aeromedical, search-and-rescue, utility and business aviation purposes.