The Canadian air ambulance company, Ornge, is no stranger to controversies. Sources from the government-funded medical flight organization have revealed that it plans to sell its fleet of Augusta Westland choppers that it had acquired in 2008. The air ambulance fleet was bought for a sum of $148 million and these medical air transportation vehicles had made way to Canada in 2010. At the time, two of the choppers that Ornge air ambulance company had bought were fitted with 12 passenger seats, which rendered them unfit to transport patients. These air ambulances were eventually sold for $20 million.
Why is the Air Ambulance Agency selling them?
A statement by the air ambulance company revealed that it is now finding these choppers “expensive” to operate. It was further revealed that Ornge is looking for cheaper alternatives. Dr. Andrew McCallum who is the CEO and President of the company said these are too big, burn a lot of fuel, and tough to maintain due to complexity of the machinery. The choppers have so far served over 3000 patients.
It was previously noted that the cabin design of these air ambulance choppers was less than ideal and was making it tough for the paramedics to attend to the patients with tasks such as CPR. Ornge air ambulance intends to sell the choppers at $10 million each. It further plans to use this money to purchase about 10 to 11 air ambulance transport vehicles. Ornge had purchased the 12 Augusta Westland choppers even though there was only a requirement of 9.
Ornge Air Ambulance Also Operates another Fleet
Apart from the Augusta Westland Choppers, Ornge also owns ten Pilatus PC-12 air ambulances, which were purchased for $42 million. Even in this case, the requirement was only for six. Augusta Westland had donated $2.9 million earlier for Ornge’s charitable work. However, it is believed that $500,000 of this was spent on purchasing custom motorcycles.