The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust, a HEMS provider on New Zealand’s North Island, has announced that it is replacing the A109 helicopter that it has operated for more than a decade.
Its replacement helicopter will be a leased BK117, the most common rescue helicopter type in New Zealand. According to the Trust, the larger aircraft will comfortably accommodate the increase in equipment required to enable the best possible level of care for patients.
“The Trust is confident this will provide the safest, most appropriate and financially responsible solution for the Taranaki community,” stated its chairperson, Evan Cottam.
The number of missions the Trust’s helicopter flies annually has been steadily growing in recent years. A record-breaking 287 missions were carried out in 2020.
“We are very proud of the service that has been provided to our community by the A109 over the years. It has made a significant, positive contribution to the lives of many people,” noted Cottam.
The A109 has been out of action for much of this year for maintenance reasons, and this has driven the decision to secure a replacement. The Trust has been using BK117s to fill in for the A109 in recent months.