Airbus Helicopters H145. Photo courtesy of Airbus
In response to a call by the New Zealand Health Ministry for improved helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand Limited has picked two Airbus Helicopters H145s to be delivered in the second half of next year, Airbus said Nov. 13.
The rotorcraft are to be the first HEMS-configured H145s in New Zealand, Airbus said.
Helicopter Emergency Medical Services New Zealand Limited is a consortium of Helicopters Otago Ltd. and GCH Aviation, which will operate the aircraft on South Island in the nation's south. The consortium already flies Airbus BK117s and EC145s. Demand for HEMS in the region has increased, and the consortium's helicopters will be on call 24/7 in the cities of Dunedin and Christchurch.
Graeme Gale, managing director of Helicopters Otago Ltd., said in a statement that "Airbus’ industry-leading safety features, reliability, and importantly, excellent internal space and rear clam shell doors, makes the H145 the perfect air ambulance, suited for any weather condition.”
Philippe Monteux, the head of Airbus' Southeast Asia and Pacific division, said that he is "convinced that the H145 will quickly become the region’s reference for HEMS operations."
Airbus said that the popularity of the four-ton, twin engine H145 is due "to its high performance and spacious cabin, agility and ability to quickly convert from an air ambulance to other roles such as disaster relief or mountain rescue."
The H145 has the advanced Helionix avionics suite and four-axis autopilot system, which is designed to reduce pilot workload.
About 1,400 helos in the H145 family are flying around the world, including 41 in New Zealand that fly HEMS, search and rescue, utility and executive transport missions, Airbus said.