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EA CO AS
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End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:13 am

For those who may not know, AS is one of the only airlines in the world that has equipment certified to carry patients via stretcher aboard their aircraft. It's a complex process that involves the purchase of and blocking of 9 seats in the main cabin to accommodate the stretcher, an attendant, plus an escort. Currently, the service is only offered on intra-AK flights and on flights from ANC to SEA, however it will be discontinued effective July 17th.

As a long-time AS employee (and one who frequently had been called upon to facilitate this service) this is bittersweet; the ability to accept stretcher patients was one more reason AS was unique among other airlines, however the reality is that fleet changes would have brought this about soon anyway (the current seats on B737-400s are the only ones equipped for stretchers) and this type of service is better performed by air ambulance companies and other medical service providers.

Show of hands - how many out there even knew AS took stretchers?
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cha747
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:08 pm

I did NOT know that AS offered this service though in the spirit of the Iditarod, it makes sense. Lufthansa famously offers this service for critically ill patients http://www.lufthansa.com/us/en/Lufthansa-PTC in need of intercontinental repatriation but you're correct, an air ambulance probably makes more sense to take critically ill patients to SEA or beyond.
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aaway
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:51 pm

Also did not know that AS provided the service. Yet, it really isn't surprising considering (among other factors) the oil industry and isolation of populated regions.

My carrier also facilitates stretchers. On a couple of occasions I've had to coordinate pre and post arrival activity for a stretcher passenger. Needless to say, communication is paramount.
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:42 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter):
Show of hands - how many out there even knew AS took stretchers?

I too am hearing this for the first time. What a great service to offer those communities throughout Alaska that do not always have the facilities to take care of some serious patients. One less thing that separates AS from the rest.
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:50 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter):
Show of hands - how many out there even knew AS took stretchers?

ooh ohh, I did!!!
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aloha73g
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:06 am

I recall during my F/A training at Hawaiian that at that time (2006-7) HA accepted stretchers in the cabin on 767-300s, but I think it was only for PPG-HNL, though I could be wrong.

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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:33 am

Yes, it's the end of an era.

I recall seeing stretchers on both Air Mike 727s and DC-10s, but that was years ago. Does any one know if UA still offers that service in the Micronesia area?
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:32 am

Quoting aloha73g (Reply 5):
HA accepted stretchers in the cabin on 767-300s, but I think it was only for PPG-HNL, though I could be wrong.

I think it was either PPG or PPT, I remember reading it on the HA website, I can't find the info any longer.
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Max Q
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:36 am

We have always offered this service at Air Mike and still do as far as I know.
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:41 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter):
AS is one of the only airlines in the world that has equipment certified to carry patients via stretcher aboard their aircraft

Numerous airlines carry stretcher patients.
 
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GCT64
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:57 pm

This was a service (on any airline) that I was utterly unaware of. I don't believe there has been a stretcher on any flight I have been on. However it does seem that

Quoting charliecossie (Reply 9):
Numerous airlines carry stretcher patients.

Air India: "Only 1 stretcher per flight will be accepted in economy class. No stretcher will be carried in first and executive class."

LOT: "We can only carry passengers on stretchers in our B767 / B737 aircraft. Only one person on a stretcher can travel on board a plane."

Jet Airways: "Jet Airways accepts guests traveling on a stretcher on 9W / S2 operated flights only, on domestic, Gulf and SAARC (Colombo, Dhaka and Kathmandu) routes operated with the aircraft type Boeing 737. Travel on a stretcher is subject to prior approval."

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FI642
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:28 pm

When I worked for BW they took them. Engineering hated them. There always seemed to have been at least one seat broken in the process.
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Tomassjc
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:55 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter):
Show of hands - how many out there even knew AS took stretchers?

I remember several flights PDX-ANC where we accommodated stretchers. I recall we sold a total of 9 seats and removed two rows on the rear starboard side of the 737-400s, and stuck them in the forward pit. I don't think we could take stretchers on the MD80s or later on the 737NGs, but might be wrong about the latter.

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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:57 pm

Quoting Tomassjc (Reply 12):
I remember several flights PDX-ANC where we accommodated stretchers. I recall we sold a total of 9 seats and removed two rows on the rear starboard side of the 737-400s, and stuck them in the forward pit. I don't think we could take stretchers on the MD80s or later on the 737NGs, but might be wrong about the latter.

Tomas SJC.

The MD80s could take stretchers and so could the -200C, but only the -400s are equipped and certified for stretchers at this point; none of the NGs can.
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:32 pm

I have not seen a stretcher passenger in many years. NW carried them on the DC10 and 747 occasionally and the patient had to be accompanied. Not sure what kind of fare that was charged.

These days there are so many small companies that fly medical jets that I would assume it is no longer financially viable to block 9 seats. And the assembly and disassembly by maintenance was a headache because they were not available at every station. So often the airplane flew around for a day or two before they could be disassembled or installed at a major station.

We had an evacuation plan to carry stretcher patients off the aircraft using a blanket as a method to drag them to an exit. Thankfully, that never happened that I am aware of.
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:11 am

I know Trans-American used to carry stretchers on board their 707s between Los Angeles and Chicago. Not sure if they did on other routes. I think Columbia Air Lines did as well.
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cha747
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:16 am

Quoting HOmSaR (Reply 15):
I know Trans-American used to carry stretchers on board their 707s between Los Angeles and Chicago. Not sure if they did on other routes. I think Columbia Air Lines did as well.

Trans-American....didn't their livery make the plane look like a big Tylenol?
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:45 am

I guess that leaves two air ambulance services and too a certain the Coast Guard. With the end of this AS service I think it is worthy to salute on this July 4 the men and women of Coast Guard Alaska who swoop into the small communities and villages often times in dismal conditions 24/7 365 to retrieve these patients when commercial air ambulances can't or will not.

I've witnessed first hand air ambulances from SEA who wouldn't land in places like Skagway, VDZ and many others throughout the state do to weather only to have the Coast Guard pick up the patient and transported them to an awaiting air ambulance at Juneau ANC, ADQ Dutch etc.
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ADXMatt
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:42 am

Quoting FlyHossD (Reply 6):
I recall seeing stretchers on both Air Mike 727s and DC-10s, but that was years ago. Does any one know if UA still offers that service in the Micronesia area?

Stretcher and Onboard Oxygen is only available on select flights in the Micronesia markets.
 
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:11 am

I didn't realize airlines didn't do this anymore. Many years ago (we are talking over ten anyways) we almost needed to utilize one domestically. I remember it being super super expensive when we called, but getting a private medical flight was looking at many times that (in the range of a not so small car). Knowing that a vast majority of insurances wont cover that, things were looking pretty bleak. Fortunately my brothers condition improved enough that he could sit up on a flight for a few hours, so creative routing made flying a real possibility.
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:14 am

Quoting adxmatt (Reply 18):
Onboard Oxygen is only available on select flights in the Micronesia markets.

They still do compressed medical oxygen, not POCs? Last I'd heard AS was the last to do away with medical oxygen; carriage of them was too hazardous even after buying the Kevlar-lined "Superboxes" to accommodate them and control accidental explosions of the cylinders.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:32 am

Quoting charliecossie (Reply 9):
Numerous airlines carry stretcher patients.

DL used to do this but not sure if they do any longer. I can remember seeing it done at SHV and SLC in the 80s on a 727.
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djb77
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:46 am

I witnessed the stretcher service when traveling on Lufthansa from FRA to DUB in the summer of 2006 - an Irish football fan fell down steps at a football match during the 2006 World Cup, breaking both legs and a wrist (I spoke to his wife while we were in line to use the loo - she told me the whole story...). To be honest, I was amazed by the set-up on the A319 and I know the patient's wife was gob-smacked at how efficient the whole operation was handled.

I was also slightly envious - I would love to try a take-off flat on my back  
 
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:49 pm

Quoting djb77 (Reply 22):

I was also slightly envious - I would love to try a take-off flat on my back

Say the wrong thing to the F/A and you may have your chance......  
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pliersinsight
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:53 pm

Wow, I guess this is going to severely limit the ability of a nun with a guitar to knock out the patient's IV line.
 
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aloha73g
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:50 pm

I found the info on HA's website for their stretcher service to PPG....a highlight:

Quote:
Between PPG and HNL, without voluntary stopover, a flat fee of $6,750 USD will be assessed, which includes up to two (2) medical attendants or accompanying passengers. Additional medical attendants or accompanying passengers will be required to purchase seats at available fares.
http://www.hawaiianairlines.com/Abou...ernationalCarriageRule.aspx?cr=500
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airbazar
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:10 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter):
Show of hands - how many out there even knew AS took stretchers?

I always assumed that just about every non-LCC airline did this.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:48 pm

Quoting charliecossie (Reply 9):
Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter): AS is one of the only airlines in the world that has equipment certified to carry patients via stretcher aboard their aircraft
Numerous airlines carry stretcher patients.

I never said AS was the only one, just that they're one of the only ones. Not many carriers worldwide offer this; only some do.
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larshjort
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:34 pm

I never knew it was something special.
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YXwatcherMKE
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:18 pm

As a retired EMT/Paramedic I can remember of at least 10 times I had to escort patients on both UA and NW flights back in the 80's and early 90's. I had fun calling my wife and saying hi from places like LAX, SFO, DCA, SEA etc. it would really trip her trigger when I called her one time from SAN in January and told her that I was going to be spending the night there and it was 71 degrees there and it was -8 degrees back at MKE(home). But those trips were a lot of work.
Oh and I did not know that AS did that service still. I did not think any airline still provided that service any longer because of the disruption to the rest of the customers.

[Edited 2013-07-05 15:22:04]
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airbazar
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:25 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 27):
I never said AS was the only one, just that they're one of the only ones. Not many carriers worldwide offer this; only some do.

The point is most airlines around the world do this. It's nothing special. But you made it sound like AS was unique in offering this service.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:16 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 30):
The point is most airlines around the world do this.


You're speaking in hyperbole. If you check, you'll find that "most" either do not offer them at all, or if they do that are limited solely to longhaul international flights.

Quoting airbazar (Reply 30):
you made it sound like AS was unique in offering this service.

I'll be the first to admit that I thought far fewer airlines offered this service than I'd previously thought, however to say that "most" do offer stretcher service is wildly inaccurate.

http://travelinsurancefile.com/headl...es-need-for-insurance-repat-cover/
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ADXMatt
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:15 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 20):
Quoting adxmatt (Reply 18):
Onboard Oxygen is only available on select flights in the Micronesia markets.

They still do compressed medical oxygen, not POCs? Last I'd heard AS was the last to do away with medical oxygen; carriage of them was too hazardous even after buying the Kevlar-lined "Superboxes" to accommodate them and control accidental explosions of the cylinders.

Yes, Medical Oxygen bottles.

Customers worldwide can use their own FAA Approved POC's
 
COSPN
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:24 am

CO/UA Micronesia only HNL-GUM-MNL and to and from Micronesian Islands, NOT on other UA/CO flights
 
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:25 am

I can think of at least 3 stretchers on 3 different airlines handled within the last week at AKL. It happens all the time.
My own airline accepts them on A320s/763/772/744 services.

Because of the nature of it, and the extra work involved they are huge revenue earners 9x Full fare Y seat. Depending on destination that's $12000-$25000 a time. Well worth it.
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airbazar
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:54 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 31):
You're speaking in hyperbole. If you check, you'll find that "most" either do not offer them at all, or if they do that are limited solely to longhaul international flights.

Oh so now you want to get specific, I really don't have the time to check all airlines of the world  What if I said most MAJOR carriers? With the exception of the US carriers (likely due to the high cost of medical insurance in this country), a quick look at most major carriers around the world shows that they all do provide this service in some fashion: AF, LH, IB, AZ, TK, EK, QR, AI, CX, SQ, TG, JL, NH, QF, NZ, SA, ET, LAN, TAM. The only surprising thing that I found was that BA doesn't.
 
charliecossie
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:09 am

Quoting airbazar (Reply 35):
surprising thing that I found was that BA doesn't.

Having fitted and removed numerous stretchers for a customer airline, It's easy for me to understand. Fitting the stretcher to this customers' 747 took two men about 3 hours.
 
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lightsaber
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:36 pm

I'm surprised with the rise of business jets and the ability to hire Air Ambulances, I would have thought this service was discontinued years ago excluding international long haul.

Quoting cha747 (Reply 1):
an air ambulance probably makes more sense to take critically ill patients to SEA or beyond.

   Let a properly equipped plane take the passenger.

Quoting aaway (Reply 2):
Yet, it really isn't surprising considering (among other factors) the oil industry and isolation of populated regions.

I'm sure they have other optoins today.

Quoting mayor (Reply 23):
Quoting djb77 (Reply 22):

I was also slightly envious - I would love to try a take-off flat on my back

Say the wrong thing to the F/A and you may have your chance......

Now what is that right way to achieve the same result with the F/A?  
Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 31):
http://travelinsurancefile.com/headl...es-need-for-insurance-repat-cover/

Let's see...

Not AC, BA, and that link notes none of the American carriers would perform the service TATL...

This just sounds like a business for specialized transport. There is quite a bit of equipment that is needed to safely move a non-mobile passenger.

Lightsaber
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hiflyeras
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:39 pm

No surprise that AS is dropping the service. I've been flying for them for 30+ years and haven't seen a stretcher on-board for a good 15 years. It was different back in the day when planes flew around half-full...you just reseated anyone booked in those nine seats. Planes also sat on the ground longer between flights so it was not as big of problem to take the time to prepare the area and re-assemble it after arrival at the destination. With load factors approaching 90% on AS and turn times of 40-45 minutes it is just too disruptive. Since there are now medivac companies I assume everywhere the service is no longer needed. And it'll mean more room in the last overhead bin...the stretcher tie-down kits are the size of a small carryon bag.
 
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:46 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 35):
I really don't have the time to check all airlines of the world

Which means you actually don't know for a fact whether or not "most" offer stretchers and admit your statement was hyperbole. Thanks for finally admitting it.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: End Of An Era: AS Stops Stretcher Svc Eff 7/17

Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:46 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 37):
'm surprised with the rise of business jets and the ability to hire Air Ambulances, I would have thought this service was discontinued years ago excluding international long haul.

Not everywhere, For example many medivacs are learjets with pathetic range, and they just won't do in my part of the South Pacific. The most common stretcher arrivals into AKL are from PPT/APW/TBU, all of which are small south pacific islands unable to provide specialist cardiac/burns care etc etc, so they come here. In these cases the states concerned pay, and the cost of chartering a bizjet in this part of the world is more prohibitive
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