April 18, 2019 6:07 pm

2 new STARS Air Ambulance helicopters unveiled in Calgary

One of two new STARS Air Ambulance helicopters unveiled in Calgary on Thursday, April 18.

Dani Lantela/Global News

Two new air ambulance helicopters were added to the STARS Air Ambulance fleet in Calgary on Thursday.

The new Airbus H145 helicopters are the first in a renewal program aimed at replacing all the choppers in the STARS fleet across Western Canada, STARS said in a media release.

“Today is about bringing us one step closer to making our fleet-renewal program a reality,” STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson said.

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“It is also about paying tribute to the aircraft that have served critically ill and injured patients across Western Canada for 34 years. We are told the lives we help save and the time we give patients and their families makes a difference.”

READ MORE: ‘I would have died without STARS’: Heart attack patient thankful for fleet’s new helicopter

The plan to replace the helicopters — a fleet made up of BK117 and AW139 aircraft — was announced in June 2018.

“The bulk of our fleet — the BK117 helicopters — are no longer being built and are becoming costlier to maintain,” Robertson explained in a Thursday news release. “Independent assessments of the sustainability of our fleet told us we needed to move from two aircraft types to one.”

The new helicopters are technologically advanced and have an updated version of the medical equipment found in the older models, STARS said.

A total of nine new, medically equipped helicopters will be rotated into the STARS fleet, each one comes at a price tag of $13 million, the air ambulance company said.

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