Ornge purchases new fleet of high performance medically equipped helicopters



    Signals a new era in transport medicine for Ontario patients

    TORONTO, Aug. 25 /CNW/ - Ornge, Canada's leading innovator in the field
of transport medicine announced today it is purchasing 10 new AgustaWestland
helicopters to replace the current aging fleet of Sikorsky S-76 helicopters
owned and operated by Canadian Helicopters Limited (CHL).
    "When Ornge was appointed to take over operations of the air ambulance
system in 2006, we immediately began looking at ways to improve the medical
transport system and to make it more sustainable and efficient," said
Dr. Chris Mazza, president and CEO of Ornge. "These new medically equipped
helicopters are the most technologically advanced rotor wing aircraft in the
industry today and Ontarians will benefit greatly and be proud to call them
their own," he added.
    The air ambulance program began operations in 1977 with a single
helicopter at the Buttonville airport. The program has since grown to include
11 helicopters, 76 fixed wing aircraft operated under various service
providers and 22 bases around the province, 9 of which are staffed 24/7. The
current 11 helicopters are owned and operated by CHL but under exclusive
contract to Ornge. Ornge provides the highly skilled and trained medical crews
who provide the care to the patients in these helicopters.
    As the existing contract with CHL expires in April 2009, Ornge is in the
process of a Request for Information with Pricing for a rotor wing flight
service provider.
    "Ornge's decision to purchase our own helicopters is an important step in
fulfilling our commitment to provide Ontarians with a world-class medical
transport capacity," said Dr. Mazza. "This new business model will not only
enable Ornge to contain the escalating costs associated with medical
transports while replacing the current aging fleet, but more importantly it
will also enable more patients to be transported while receiving the highest
level of medical care they deserve," he added. This move will enable Ornge to
enhance and expand its services and programs for Ontario residents.

    Ornge operates from a number of bases across the province and performs
approximately 18,000 admissions annually. It coordinates all aspects of
Ontario's aero medical transport system, the new critical care land transport
program, and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers between
hospitals. Ornge is dedicated to the provision of high quality patient care
through innovative transport medicine.





For further information:

For further information: Christine Bujold, Communications Officer, (416)
531-7577

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Ornge

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