The new aircraft were unveiled at a ceremony in Christchurch on Tuesday 13 August. The total £30 million cost for both helicopters was funded by the ongoing support of the ACC, the Ministry of Health and continued community donation and sponsorship deals.
The new aircraft will be based in Christchurch and Otago and be used for all manner of incidents, including search and rescue and air medical callouts. The service will be supported by other helicopters and crew from dedicated bases in Nelson, Greymouth, Queenstown and an on-call service from Te Anau.
This latest development comes as part of New Zealand’s efforts to modernise its air ambulance fleet, which saw the government enter into an agreement with GCH Aviation and Helicopters Otago’s joint venture Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS).
HEMS Chief Executive Ken Franklin added: "These specially equipped aircraft will give clinical staff more room to provide vital patient care with the latest life-saving equipment."