1-Jun-2020 Source: HeliHub.com
HeliHub.com editor note – below is the press release from Gama Aviation regarding the commencement of operations for the Scottish Ambulance Service. It is worth noting that Gama Aviation have held the contract since the 1990s to provide two fixed-wing and two rotary-wing aircraft. Up to now, the rotary-wing element has been subcontracted to Babcock MCS Onshore (previously known as Bond Aviation Services), while Gama have operated the fixed-wing part themselves with Beech 200s. This is their first move into rotary-wing operations.
At an event on 2nd March, Gama Aviation confirmed to HeliHub.com that the date of 1st June does not represent a contract date with the Scottish Ambulance Service, noting that there are three years remaining on the current agreement. Mark Gascoigne of Gama Aviation declined to comment on why the relationship with Babcock had ended mid-way through the contract period.
Gama Aviation Plc, the global business aviation services company, is pleased to announce the full transition of HEMS services supplied to the Scottish Ambulance Service (“SAS”) to its European Air & Ground division placing all SAS air ambulance missions under the direct control of the company.
The current health crisis has shown the importance of connected health services using streamlined, complementary resources, including those of the RAF and Loganair (delivering specialist COVID transportation), to deliver an agile service able to meet the current and future needs of the people of Scotland. The change, announced today, and envisaged before the current crisis, delivers on that requirement, streamlining the operational control of all SAS flight activity into one entity.
Crucial to this has been the purchase of three new Airbus H145 HEMS equipped aircraft. Two of the three aircraft will enter service on 1st June 2020 at 07.00 as will a highly experienced pilot and engineering support team and a new, purpose-built facility in Inverness. The Inverness facility complements Gama Aviation’s investments in Glasgow and Aberdeen, providing the infrastructure backbone to improve air / ground patient transitions and maintain aircraft availability across fixed wing and rotary operations.
Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, welcomed the new arrivals saying: “Gama Aviation have delivered consistent, high quality service for nearly three decades with the Scottish Ambulance Service as part of our emergency pre-hospital care response. Bringing fast medical care to patients as well as quick life-saving transport to hospital, these helicopters will continue to support the whole of Scotland when needed during these difficult times and into the future.
The air ambulance is vital and saves lives by giving access to the best possible emergency medical treatment available, especially for those in remote and rural areas through a network of delivery partners including Gama Aviation and the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance SCAA. We want to wish their experienced and professional crews safe flying and thank the Gama Aviation and SAS teams involved for their hard work in delivering the transition project to completion.”
Mark Gascoigne, MD, Gama Aviation, Europe Air commented: “As the prime contractor we believed there were additional material service improvements that could be delivered using new facilities and a new team. With the permission and oversight of the SAS team, we’ve spent the last 18 months instituting a change that will improve the service to the people of Scotland. The gains will be marginal, but HEMS operations rely on a constant commitment to improve, and that is what we are focusing on with new aircraft, exceptional pilots and brilliant engineers.”
Marwan Khalek, Group CEO commented: “We are delighted to have bought together all flight operations for the Scottish Ambulance Service under our direct control and to have commenced HEMS operations using our fleet of new helicopters in Scotland today. It is the product of 18 months’ hard work and demonstrates our ability to effectively and efficiently deliver our clients’ mission requirements within precise parameters. We look forward to greater participation in the UK rotary market.”
Gama Aviation’s investment within the HEMS market represents a strategic shift towards the special mission rotary market, an area that is complementary to its existing fixed wing special mission capability. Current special mission clients include air ambulance, law enforcement and defence agencies.