Swiss Air-Rescue Rega today signed a contract to purchase six new rescue helicopters of the type, Airbus Helicopters H145. These new helicopters are to replace the current EC 145 lowland fleet and will already go into operation in 2018.
“With this decision in favour of the H145, we are continuing to renew the Rega fleet with the next generation of aircraft,” explains Rega CEO, Ernst Kohler. For Rega, the reliability of its aircraft is a decisive factor. For this reason, the EC 145, which was purchased in 2003 and has more than proven itself in practice, will be replaced by the more powerful successor model in the early summer of 2018.
The new rescue helicopters will reduce the volume of maintenance work and maintain the already excellent levels of availability. With its decision to purchase the H145, Rega is upholding its two-type fleet strategy: the mountain bases will continue to employ the Da Vinci rescue helicopters from Italian manufacturer Leonardo Helicopters (formerly AgustaWestland), while the helicopters from the French company, Airbus Helicopters, will be stationed at the lowland bases.
Predestined for special intensive care transports
With the H145, Rega is placing its trust in the next-generation model of the tried-and-tested EC 145, which is used at the lowland bases in Zurich, Basel, Berne and Lausanne. The H145 is considerably more powerful than the EC 145, is equipped with a four-axis autopilot, and features cutting-edge avionics and navigation technology. Its spacious cabin means that it is predestined for special intensive care patient transports, such as with a heart-lung machine or the mobile incubator for premature babies.
Rega is investing around CHF 52 million for the six helicopters, including the medical equipment. This sum has already been earmarked in Rega’s long-term financial planning, and the organisation’s healthy financial position means that this project can be funded without outside capital.
Fleet renewal after 15 years
Together with the H145 helicopters, the three new Bombardier Challenger 650 ambulance jets will also join Rega’s fleet in early summer 2018 and be put into operation on behalf of patients. “I am delighted to be able to present these two aircraft types to our patrons in 2018,” says Ernst Kohler. By then, both the current ambulance jets and the EC 145 helicopters will have been in Rega’s service for around 15 years.
Furthermore, in 2021, Rega will take delivery of its three new all-weather rescue helicopters of the type Leonardo Helicopters AW169-FIPS. These helicopters will extend Rega’s scope of operation even further, as thanks to their anti-icing system they can also fly missions in icing conditions.
“It is our responsibility to think about the future. With these new aircraft, we are ensuring that in the coming years, too, Rega will be able to come to the aid of patients and people in distress reliably and professionally – both in Switzerland and all over the world.”