|EC135. Photo courtesy Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first helicopter to China dedicated for helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS).
China is one of the world’s fastest-growing helicopter markets and continued growth is expected following the relaxation of airspace regulations. Airbus is already well-established in the country, with customers in the utility, police and law enforcement and offshore oil and gas sectors.
“The relaxation of China’s low-altitude airspace augurs well for the development of HEMS which is very much needed in a country of such geographical and population size,” says Norbert Ducrot, president of Airbus Helicopters China.
The twin-engine EC135 has been delivered to 999 Emergency Rescue Center, which is a subsidiary of the Beijing Red Cross Foundation. A second helicopter will be delivered in the first quarter of 2015, and a letter of intent for two EC145 T2s has been signed by the same organization.
The first helicopter is an EC135 P2e version fully equipped with medical systems from Bucher, which supplies the equipment for a number of European HEMS operators. A team of doctors from 999 Center is undergoing familiarization courses in Germany of Bucher equipment following earlier HEMS training. Airbus Helicopters is providing rotorcraft training, organizing a cooperation outreach and establishing relationships and workshops for the Chinese with leading European air rescue operators to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
The EC135 performs 25 percent of all medical operations worldwide, with 500 of the 1,100 delivered globally in HEMS configuration, says Airbus. The type is “the perfect platform to kick-start China’s efforts in ramping up its airborne emergency medical services,” says Wolfgang Schroeder, chief executive officer, Airbus Helicopters Germany. —By Emma Kelly, Australia and Pacific Correspondent