Gama Aviation announced yesterday it had started operating helicopter emergency medical services (Hems) from a new base at Inverness Airport as part of its £50 million, three-year Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) contract extension.
As prime contractor for air ambulance services in Scotland since 2013, Gama had previously sub-contracted the Hems work to Babcock Mission Critical Services Onshore, while running fixed-wing services itself with two planes.
The firm has invested around £20m in three new Airbus H145 helicopters, which will operate from its existing bases at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, as well as the new £1m Highland facility.
Set up in 1983 and specialising in corporate jet hire, Farnborough-based Gama is eyeing further expansion in the UK helicopter market.
Chief executive Marwan Khalek said: “We are delighted to have brought together all flight operations for the Scottish Ambulance Service under our direct control and to have commenced Hems operations using our fleet of new helicopters in Scotland.
“It is the product of 18 months’ hard work and demonstrates our ability to effectively and efficiently deliver our clients’ mission requirements within precise parameters.
“We look forward to greater participation in the UK rotary market.”
SAS chief executive Pauline Howie added: “Bringing fast medical care to patients as well as quick life-saving transport to hospital, these helicopters will continue to support the whole of Scotland when needed during these difficult times and into the future.”