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LifeFlight adds 3 new Leonardo AW139 helicopters

written by Jake Nelson | February 28, 2024

LifeFlight has one of the largest AW139 fleets in the country. (Image: LifeFlight Australia)

LifeFlight Australia has invested in three new AW139 intermediate twin-engine helicopters, which it expects to arrive later in the year.

The Queensland-based aeromedical organisation is expanding its AW139 fleet to 16, with three other rotary and four fixed-wing aircraft also in its stable. The AW139s will be used to provide emergency medical services as well as search and rescue response missions.

According to LifeFlight Australia chief operating officer Lee Schofield, the new helicopter order, announced this week at HAI Heli-Expo in California, will replace some older aircraft and help meet “soaring demand” for LifeFlight’s services.

“As demand for our services increases, so does the need for aircraft, pilots and specially trained crews to ensure we can meet that demand and continue to save lives,” he said.

“The AW139s have the latest in avionics technology, patient care and search and rescue capability. This type of helicopter has the technology, size, versatility, readiness and advanced capabilities that make them ideal for emergency services requirements in Australia.


“We are proud to be investing in the growth of our fleet and expansion of our operational capabilities and the new aircraft orders are a key part of this strategy.”

LifeFlight last year helped what it said was a record 7,455 people, up 15 per cent on 2022, including 2,851 helicopter missions. Its choppers spent a total of 4,613 hours in the air, said Schofield.

“When you look at the circumstances and scale of the operations over the past year, the life-saving capability of the organisation matched with aviation innovation and engineering, has really shone,” he said.

“Often our crews are called on in the middle of the night to airlift patients in remote and precarious places and transport them safely to hospitals.

“LifeFlight is constantly evolving and investing in our capabilities to ensure that we can provide high level coverage and care when people need us. It doesn’t matter where or when an emergency occurs, our crews are 24-7 ready-to-go.”

LifeFlight moved to significantly expand its Queensland infrastructure in 2023, including a new $3.4 million base at Roma in the Maranoa region and a larger base maintenance facility at Archerfield Airport in Brisbane.

It also received a $586.1 million grant over 10 years from the Queensland government, part of which will be used on a massive $18.3 million Sunshine Coast hub.

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