Farnborough, London’s Air Ambulance Charity (LAAC) – the helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) for the UK’s capital – has ordered two Airbus H135 helicopters for the renewal of its fleet under a contract signed at the Farnborough International Airshow.
“We are extremely honoured to have received this order from one of the world’s most prestigious aeromedical operators,” said Airbus Helicopters UK Head of Civil Business Gary Clark. “It’s nearly 35 years since we provided LAAC’s first ever helicopter – a Dauphin – and it will be very satisfying to once again see them flying our helicopters.”
The two aircraft will be delivered in 2024 and will operate primarily from LAAC’s helipad base at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel which is one of the highest in Europe. LAAC’s advanced trauma team treated 1,713 patients in 2021.
Charles Newitt, LAAC Deputy CEO, said: “We are very impressed with the medical capability that we can pack into the H135. The issue of ground safety is very important to us as we frequently have to operate into physically constrained emergency locations with a constant risk of the public being present. The compact size of the H135 plus its Fenestron tail rotor and high ground clearance are attractive features for us.”
Jonathan Jenkins, LAAC CEO, said: “The purchase of the two new helicopters is an exciting step forward for London’s Air Ambulance Charity and the service we provide to London. It is also a remarkable fundraising challenge for the Charity.
“The operating environment in London is complex and we have chosen the Airbus H135 helicopter as our preferred option to maintain and evolve our service over the coming years, enabling our pilots, paramedics and doctors to continue to innovate in the field of pre-hospital care in one of the world’s most congested cities.
“At the core of everything we do is the patients and communities we serve and I’m confident that today’s announcement will help save lives across London for many years to come.”
The H135 is the market leader in emergency medical services (EMS) worldwide and can be fitted with a wide range of EMS configurations, providing direct access and ample room for patient care. With the lowest operating and maintenance costs in its class, the proven H135 family of aircraft incorporates Airbus’ Helionix avionics suite and has recently received an alternate gross weight increase for an additional 265lbs (120kg) of useful load.
Airbus Helicopters is the leading provider of helicopters to the air medical transport industry, providing some 55% of the 2,600 EMS helicopters flying in the world today and two-thirds of the air ambulance fleet in the UK.