Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust announces new Helicopter Operator

Trustees of the Cornwall Air Ambulance gathered to sign a new helicopter contract on Monday 18, March, which will see a new operator providing the service from December 2014.

Following a competitive tender process, Medical Aviation Services (MAS) were selected ahead of the other two companies shortlisted including the existing operator, Bond Air Services.

The new deal will see MAS operating two helicopters for the charity to cope with demand and provide a dedicated back up service.

Chief executive for Cornwall Air Ambulance Paula Martin said; “We have worked very closely with our paramedic team and the South Western Ambulance Service.

“The new aircraft will provide the crew and patients conveyed to hospital with increased cabin space.

“In addition the helicopter can carry more weight and fly further than our current aircraft, all of which will help us improve our service delivery in the future.

“In 2012, European rules allowing air ambulances to operate nighttime missions were adopted in the UK.

“We are delighted to say that both of the new Cornwall Air Ambulances will have this capability in the future.”

Chairman of Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, Lady Mary Holborow said; “This occasion marks a new chapter in the life of the Cornwall Air Ambulance and we are all very much looking forward to working with Medical Aviation Services.”

The move to a new operator marks the end of 27 years of the operator relationship between the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust and Bond Air Services.

Paula Martin said; “I don’t think as a trust we have had to make a more difficult decision, but the creativity of the bid by Medical Aviation Services won the day.

“As a charity, we must be able to demonstrate to our donors and beneficiaries that we deliver both quality and value for money.”

Henk Schaeken, Group Managing Director for MAS said; “Being selected by what is the original air ambulance charity in the country is truly an honour.  

“The Cornwall Air Ambulance is a fast developing organisation.  

“Having recently created a new, state of the art facility they are now moving to an increased level of service with the change to the MD 902 Explorer.  

“Adding a second dedicated aircraft will further enhance the service for the people of Cornwall and the Scilly Isles.

“These aircraft will have the capability to operate after night fall and allow the air ambulance to increase its operating hours.

“It’s very exciting to be part of this development of the Cornwall Air Ambulance.”

The tender process was independently project managed by Wagg Consultants on behalf of the charity.

Director, Stephen Murdoch said; “This has been a challenging process that resulted in a number of high quality proposals. 

“We recognise that this has been a difficult decision for the Trust and appreciate the hard work of everyone involved. 

“We are very pleased with the selection of Medical Aviation Services which provides opportunities to enhance the service and offers excellent value for money to the Cornwall Air Ambulance.”

The new contract comes into force in December of 2014, giving the new operator and charity operations team 20 months to acquire the new aircraft and fit them out for service as air ambulances.