STARS is another step nearer to renewing its helicopter fleet, thanks to a $1 million gift from Capital Power. Brian Vaasjo, president and CEO of Capital Power, made the announcement today in the STARS air ambulance base at the Edmonton International Airport.
In June 2018, STARS unveiled a multi-year plan to replace its fleet of BK117 and AW139 aircraft with nine new medically equipped Airbus H145 helicopters, at a cost of CAD $13 million each. $1 million outfits a helicopter with the medical interior needed to perform emergency life-saving procedures.
“The bulk of our aging fleet is no longer being built and is becoming costlier to maintain,” said Andrea Robertson, STARS president and CEO. “Additionally, independent assessments of the sustainability of our fleet told us we needed to move from two aircraft types to one.”
An extensive review resulted in the selection of the H145 aircraft as the best option for STARS’ new fleet. It offers cutting-edge technology, advanced safety features, and an updated version of the medical interior found in STARS’ existing helicopters.
Capital Power’s donation is the largest corporate contribution from the Edmonton area to STARS’ fleet renewal capital campaign to date.
“Capital Power is a strong supporter of STARS and the invaluable lifesaving service they provide,” said Vaasjo. “With power generation operations in both Alberta and North East British Columbia, we are pleased to support their critical work to save lives across Western Canada. Transforming a helicopter into a sophisticated, emergency-care unit that saves lives every day is no small feat – we encourage citizens and corporations alike to give in some way, big or small, to this vital campaign.”
STARS has been flying missions with the new H145 aircraft from its Calgary base since July 2019, thanks to early support from the Government of Canada and the Alberta government.
“STARS is a vital tool to help Albertans access timely medical care when every second counts,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health. “Thank you to Capital Power and all the generous Albertans who provide support to keep these rescue helicopters and medical crews in our skies, ready to respond to medical emergencies at a moment’s notice. Your generosity is helping save lives.”
In recognition of Capital Power’s generous commitment, the company’s logo will adorn the rear door of two of STARS’ new H145 helicopters already in service. The remainder of the new fleet is expected to be delivered by 2022.
“Our supporters ride along with us on every mission, and now they are helping us build the next STARS fleet,” said Robertson. “These new aircraft are an investment in our ability to serve the people of Western Canada for decades to come, and we’re incredibly grateful to Capital Power for their financial support and leadership to help get us closer to our goal.”
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