Making a difference with Babcock Norway’s new air ambulance jet
On 1 July 2019, Babcock took over the contract for providing the air ambulance service in Norway with 11 new aircraft. It included the provision of a new jet to give the air ambulance service more speed, reach and extra capacity, after a thorough assessment process the Citation Latutide jet was chosen. The new jet can quickly bring up to five medical personnel plus medical equipment to all areas of the country, including Svalbard, one of the northernmost inhabited land masses in the world.
The Citation Latitude is Norway’s first permanent jet air ambulance in 30 years. The other ten aircraft are upgraded versions of the Beechcraft King Air propeller planes that have transported patients across the country for many years. In Northern Norway, with its long distances, sparsely populated areas and short runways, the King Air aircraft are especially vital for the emergency preparedness.
The Latitude is an important asset when patients or medical personnel have to be transported quickly. If a patient needs to be transferred from Tromsø in the north to Oslo in the south (which is a distance on 1200 kilometres) the Latitude will complete the journey 45 minutes quicker than a Beechcraft King Air. This time can be lifesaving when patients are in critical condition.
The Latitude has also proven its capacity when it comes to highly advanced onboard treatment. In 2019, Babcock transported two patients that needed ECMO treatment (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), which is similar to the heart-lung-by-pass machine used in open-heart surgery. It pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest. This was the first time that the air ambulance service in Norway managed to take care of two such critically ill patients on board at the same time. Five nurses and doctors were able to sit on board with the patients to keep them stable.