The first Pilatus PC-24 bound for Pel-Air under its contract with NSW Ambulance is nearing completion in Switzerland, Australian Aviation can reveal.
The aircraft, serial number 271, was towed to hangar 9 at Pilatus’ factory in Stans, Switzerland for final assembly.
The turbofan-powered twinjet aircraft is the first of two PC-24s headed for Pel-Air by the end of 2023.
Parent company Rex announced in July 2021 that the NSW government had provided additional funds to secure an improved mix of aircraft for the NSW Ambulance (NSWA) fleet, resulting in the order for Pel-Air.
It comes after Pel-Air commenced operations under its 10-year contract with NSWA in January this year.
The contract, announced in February 2020, will see the Mascot-based airline perform fixed-wing operations initially on its fleet of five new aeromedical Beechcraft King Air 350s, on behalf of the NSW Air Ambulance.
The newly acquired King Air turboprops were delivered to Pel-Air between December 2020 and June 2021, in anticipation for the beginning of the new contract on 1 January 2022.
Pel-Air will later take delivery of its two PC-24s in 2023, which will replace two of its King Air aircraft under the NSWA contract for the remaining duration of the contract.
According to Rex, the PC-24 jets will undergo modifications in Stans, Switzerland and locally in NSW to prepare the aircraft for the critical care and complex mission requirements of NSWA.
The aircraft will offer renewed capabilities in the areas of standard patient transfers, newborn and paediatric emergency transport service operations, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation operations, intra-aortic balloon pump operations, bariatric patient operations, over-water aeromedical transfers and major incident responses.
In a statement, Rex said, “The ability of the PC-24 jet to travel long distances at very high speed and to land at narrow unpaved runways of only 11m width will be critical in a big state like NSW and could make the difference between life and death.”
“Pel-Air is honoured by the confidence that the NSWA has placed on Pel-Air in being able to carry out successfully the procurement and modifications of these state-of-the-art jets and to run its aeromedical retrieval operations for the next 10 years with a mixed fleet for the first time in its history,” said Pel-Air chairman John Sharp.