Published on September 14th, 2022 | by Mark Dwyer


Air Ambulance NI Awards Contract to Sloane Helicopters

Following a competitive tender exercise which commenced in October 2021, Air Ambulance NI has announced a 10-year partnership agreement with Sloane Helicopters Limited to provide two HEMS AW109 helicopters, pilots and aircraft maintenance for Northern Ireland’s Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS). The new agreement will commence this Saturday, 17th of September.

The charity is introducing an AW109S Grand as its primary aircraft and an AW109E Power as its dedicated backup aircraft, both of which will be operated from its base outside Lisburn.

The AW109 is an excellent helicopter for HEMS operations and will benefit patients due to rapid start-up and shut-down times, together with a high cruise speed which means the HEMS team can reach patients more quickly. The AW109 aircraft have excellent payload capability and patient access. This new chapter is a huge step forward for Air Ambulance NI and its partners the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.

Ray Foran, Trustee at Air Ambulance NI said, “Following a competitive tendering exercise we are delighted to have selected Sloane Helicopters as our long-term aviation partner. Their comprehensive proposal offers the Charity the very best value for money, whilst introducing newer and more capable helicopters to the emergency medical service. We will continue to have our experienced pilots, a primary and secondary backup aircraft and maintenance capability at our operational base. It’s due to the continued support of the public and community right across the province that we have been able to enter into this long-term partnership, its impact will be felt immediately and be so meaningful for patients.”

Jeremy Awenat, Managing Director at Sloane Helicopters Ltd said “We are delighted to be working with Air Ambulance NI and introducing the very capable AW109 helicopters for the provision of this important lifesaving service.

This contract award further strengthens the AW109’s position in the UK HEMS market by marking the fourth AW109 Air Ambulance contract for Sloane, in addition to Derbyshire Leicestershire Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA), Warwickshire Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA), and Irish Community Air Ambulance (ICAA). Founded over 51 years ago by its current Chairman, David George, Sloane Helicopters has been supplying HEMS Aviation services for over 23 years, and have had a maintenance facility base in Enniskillen since 2006.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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