Pilot shortage affects Irish air rescue sector

pilot cockpit helicopter

The Irish Air Corps, provider of emergency air rescue services to the government Health Service Executive, has announced that is has had to scale back its services by one day per week until the end of February next year, citing pilot shortages as its reason for doing so.

The nation’s Department of Defense has acknowledged that there is an ongoing problem with pilot retention, while Fianna Fail’s spokesman on defence Jack Chambers claimed that staff retention in the defence forces was now so acute that lives are being put at risk due to a lack of emergency frontline services. A statement from the Department of Defense said: “This interruption is regrettable but necessary from a safety and governance perspective. The safety of serving personnel, HSE staff and patients is the shared number one priority and our whole focus is on returning the Emergency Aeromedical Service to full capacity.”

In 2018, the Emergency Aeromedical Service flew 320 missions (581 flight hours), a reduction from the previous year, in which it flew 599 hours, and from 2916, when it flew 848 hours.