The new air ambulance for Northern Ireland will be based at the former prison site in Long Kesh. Northern Ireland Executive has recently made the land available for use by the air ambulance service, after a long wait. The decision was made after one of the helicopters made a test landing to assess several factors such as noise levels.
History of the New Air Ambulance Service
Earlier, Northern Ireland was the only area in the U.K that did not have a helicopter emergency medical service. This changed when a pledge of £4.5 million was made by former Chancellor George Osborne, making provisions for a new air ambulance to service the region better. The new air ambulance operations will have two helicopters to transport patients to better medical facilities.
One of those two helicopters went on a test flight and then made the test landing, which was necessary for assessment. After this test landing, the Northern Ireland Executive made the decision to make the land available for use by the service. The air ambulance charity is expected to be fully operational by next year in March.
Maze site to be a Cost-Effective Solution for New Air Ambulance
The initial plan was to base the air ambulance service at Belfast International Airport. But the Maze site is expected to be a more cost-effective solution for the air ambulance charity. It will be operating from an existing building, which was previously used for checking vehicles. The charity plans to convert this building into hangar space that will accommodate two helicopters.
It also intends to transform some areas of the building into changing facilities and operations rooms for the crew. The service will need to raise about £2 million every year to fund its operations.