In an effort to save money, STARS Air Ambulance service has moved their biggest and fastest helicopter to their Edmonton base. The helicopter was originally based in Calgary, which will now function with one of their two older helicopters. Although their decision was fueled mainly by the economic factor, there were several reasons that led to the move.
Decision made due to a Number of Factors
According to STARS, this move was made mostly to reduce risk. Pilots face a challenge having to switch back and forth between different aircrafts as each of their helicopters uses different technology. By switching the base of the new helicopter, pilots based at one location can specifically operate one type of aircraft. Additionally, the move will help the air ambulance service save about $500,000 on the cost of training and maintenance.
Geography and reach also played a role in the decision to move to Edmonton. Northern Alberta has a lot more missions involving remote locations when compared to the southern regions, meaning they will need faster aircrafts. Additionally, the service’s training captains, having the most experience operating the new helicopters, are based in Alberta’s capital.
New Helicopter Purchase for Air Ambulance Service Funded by Capital Campaign
The new helicopter for STARS was purchased using funds that were raised through a capital campaign and not through the lottery. The charity’s officials have acknowledged that their donors might be questioning their moving for the new aircraft to Edmonton.
They have released a statement that although the speed may be slightly slower for the older helicopters, there is hardly much of a difference in flying time between the two types of helicopters. The charity will continue to provide the same level of medical care on both types of helicopters.