While the COVID-19 pandemic caused much of the aviation industry to grind to a halt over the past 15 months, one sector has never been more in demand – air ambulances. Tom Batchelor hears how operators kept their crews safe from infection

Custom-built barriers separating pilots from the onboard treatment area were designed for Devon Air Ambulance by submarine engineers at Babcock Marine in Devonport Dockyard 
Devon Air Ambulance
Luxembourg Air Rescue commissioned an EpiShuttle isolation pod for its helicopters last year. CEO René Closter described it as “crucial to operations”
Luxembourg Air Rescue

Coronavirus continues to overwhelm health systems in many parts of the globe, requiring emergency relocation of patients at an acute stage of illness. Now more than ever there is a need for fast, safe and efficient patient transport.

But such journeys don’t come cheap, with a typical trip from the US to the UK costing around £50,000 and transfers from the Far East to Europe charged at more than £80,000. Prices for so-called lifeguard flights depend on the aircraft type, number of medical personnel required, landing fees and the distance ground ambulances need to travel. Both fixed-wing and rotary air ambulances can be used, depending on the distance.

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