Australia’s Pel-Air Aviation, a subsidiary of the Regional Express (REX) airline, has commenced fixed-wing air ambulance operations in support of NSW Ambulance.
The services will be provided under a 10-year contract awarded in February 2020, which covers the provision, fitting, operation and maintenance of five Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft.
The new aircraft, which will be based out of Sydney Airport, are expected to improve access to remote regions, and will be able to land on shorter runways than previous NSW Ambulance fleets.
The aircraft were delivered by Textron Aviation between December 2020 and July 2021, and have been modified by subcontractor Total Aerospace Solutions to perform a range of medical flights, including patient transfers, paediatric flights, over-water aeromedical transfers and major accident responses.
The aircraft replace the previous mixed fleet of King Air B200 and B350 aircraft previously employed by former incumbent Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). RFDS ended its two decade run as NSW Ambulance’s air ambulance provider at the end of last year.
Pel-Air has provided similar fixed-wing air ambulance services to Ambulance Victoria, where it has operated since 2011. The provider was granted a two-year extension to its original 10-year contract by Ambulance Victoria in June 2019, until 2023.