STARS officially introduced its new AW139 helicopter during an unveiling ceremony at the STARS base in Saskatoon.
The Saskatoon-based AW139 helicopter is the first of its kind for STARS in Saskatchewan. Two AW139 aircrafts are in operation at the STARS bases in Calgary and Edmonton. The new helicopter will enhance access to emergency pre-hospital critical care through more rapid flying times, an expanded service area, a larger medical interior and powerful lift capacity.
The AW139 cost approximately $16 million, including $14 million for the helicopter and $2 million for the medical interiors.
“A significant capital investment was necessary to bring helicopter air ambulance service to Saskatchewan communities,” said STARS President and CEO Andrea Robertson. “PotashCorp has helped us realize our vision of bringing this new helicopter and hangar, valued at $27 million, to the people of this province.”
“PotashCorp’s commitment is the largest in STARS’ history and words cannot say how grateful we are,” added Robertson. “It’s a pleasure to see this impressive hangar and this state-of-the-art helicopter together and ready to be put into service to save those few minutes that can make all the difference in emergency critical care,” said PotashCorp’s President and CEO Jochen Tilk. “It is this kind of partnership that exemplifies our company’s commitment to the communities where we operate.”
“I want to acknowledge the tremendous support PotashCorp has shown for improved health care in this province,” Central Services Minister Jennifer Campeau said, on behalf of Health Minister Dustin Duncan. “This new helicopter and hangar will help serve Saskatchewan patients better.”
STARS is a non-profit that provides specialized emergency medical care and transportation for critically ill and injured patients.