Two new air ambulances to provide emergency cover in Cornwall
TWO air ambulances will be providing emergency cover in Cornwall in the future.
Cornwall Air Ambulance signed a new helicopter contract on Monday which will see a new operator providing the service from December 2014.
Following a tender process, Medical Aviation Services (MAS) was 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.
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Chief executive for Cornwall Air Ambulance, Paula Martin, said: "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 night-time missions were adopted in the UK.
The new air crafts will have this capability in the future.
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.
Mrs Martin continued: "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."
The new contract comes into force in December 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.