STARS’ two new Airbus H145 helicopters fly past one of the providers' BK117s. (STARS)
Canadian non-profit helicopter air ambulance provider STARS has taken delivery of two new Airbus H145 light twin aircraft. It’s the first installment of an eventual nine H145s that will replace STARS’ fleet of BK117 and AW139 helicopters.
“Today is about bringing us one step closer to making our fleet renewal program a reality,” said STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson. “The bulk of our fleet — the BK117 helicopters — are no longer being built and are becoming costlier to maintain. Independent assessments of the sustainability of our fleet told us we needed to move from two aircraft types to one.”
STARS unveiled its fleet renewal plan in 2018, agreeing to purchase nine medically equipped H145s at a price of $13 million each. The air medical provider, which has served critically ill and injured patients across Western Canada for 34 years, selected the Airbus H145 partly because it is equipped with a medical interior that is an updated version of what is found in STARS’ existing helicopters.
“The H145 family of aircraft has built a reputation as a proven and flexible solution for emergency medical services,” said Romain Trapp, president of Airbus Helicopters Canada. “We are humbled and proud to deliver the first of many high performance H145s to STARS, supporting life-saving missions across Western Canada.”
The delivery event included the air arrival of STARS’ first patient, Kelly Waldron, in an H145 that honors her place in the company’s history by bearing the registration marks “C-GKLY,” a nod to her first name.
STARS expects the two H145s will enter service later this summer.