Bengaluru: In the city’s maddening traffic, ambulances getting caught in snarls are a common sight and in some cases patients even lose the crucial golden hour. In this backdrop imagine a helicopter taking off and landing on a helipad close to a hospital. Lives can be saved in the nick of time.
Letting this become a reality, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday launched India’s first dedicated air ambulance service at HAL Airport in Bengaluru. Aviators Air Rescue Private Ltd started this dedicated air ambulance service to provide affordable air transport for patients.
The company plans to cover all major south Indian cities by 2018. It currently has three helicopters, with one is stationed in Bengaluru and the other two in Chennai and Hyderabad respectively. Aviators Air Rescue Managing Director Capt. Arun Sharma said, “This is India’s first dedicated air ambulance service. It is meant for air rescue.”
The company CEO, Sridhar, said, “This service is aimed at providing affordable and accessible air rescue services to the general masses. Currently we have three helicopters in our inventory, but plan to expand and add more helicopters by 2018.”
Sridhar also added that, “In the next stage we want to expand and cover the whole of India.” The CEO also spoke about the subscription model which he said would help ordinary people avail the service. A doctor and a paramedic will be made available at all times.
“The subscription model has two options. Single subscription costs `9,000 and family subscription costs `18,000. The family subscription is for four people.”
Sharma said, “We expect to sell 25,000 to 30,000 subscriptions a month.” He added that the company had tie-ups with all major hospitals in south India. “We also aim to include insurance,” he added.
“The company will automatically intimate the customer 30 days before his/her subscription expires,” said Sharma. Sridhar pointed out that, “Advanced Life Support equipment would be available on all of their helicopters. All our helicopters are outfitted with latest life saving equipment.”
“Patient transport is our main objective. Along with this we hope to provide prompt organ delivery service as well,” Sharma said. The company plans to start commercial operations next month.