The sky is not the limit for Wales Air Ambulance as the charity takes over the lease of Cardiff Heliport, in a new venture which will help to generate funds for its lifesaving service.
The new deal was struck with heliport owners Cardiff Council and the previous leaseholder, Cardiff City Heliport Ltd, on August 1. It is believed to be the first time an air ambulance charity has taken operational control of a commercial heliport.
Based on Foreshore Road in the Tremorfa area of city, the heliport is already home to the charity’s Children’s Wales Air Ambulance division, which provides specialist transfers for vulnerable babies and children across Wales.
Wales Air Ambulance chief executive Angela Hughes said: “The Charity has been working in partnership with Cardiff Council and the previous leaseholder of Cardiff Heliport to transfer the lease and day-to-running of the site to Wales Air Ambulance. Following a due diligence process, we are delighted to announce the transfer has been completed.
“This is an exciting and pioneering opportunity for Wales Air Ambulance to take on a new venture which will help to generate funds for our lifesaving cause. All profits made at the Heliport will support our charitable mission and any commercial use of the site will now be helping to save lives.
“Profits will come straight to the charity so anyone using the heliport’s fantastic facilities, for landing, fuel or other purposes, will do so knowing they are helping to keep our helicopters flying over Wales.”
The charity relies on donations to raise £6.5 million every year to keep its four helicopters flying over Wales. It is the largest air ambulance service in Britain, with three HEMS (helicopter emergency medical service) helicopters based in Llanelli, Caernarfon and Welshpool as well as its transfer aircraft at Cardiff Heliport.
Angela Hughes added: “Our Children’s Wales Air Ambulance helicopter in Cardiff provides a unique service for paediatric and neonatal patients throughout Wales. We have the UK’s only Helicopter Transfer Practitioners, dedicated to moving our country’s youngest patients to and from the specialist care they need. Our advanced incubator systems were designed especially for Wales, with input from Welsh neonatal nurses and our own crews.
“This is all thanks to the incredible donations we receive. An increasing number of businesses and community groups are visiting us at the heliport to pledge their support, so this is a very exciting time for the Charity to develop our operations at the site.”
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