Mid-range Versus Long-range Air Ambulance Jets: What's the Advantage?
Bluedot recently introduced the biggest midsize medevac flight in the Middle East and South Asia: the Cessna C680 Sovereign. With the capacity to carry 4 passengers, 2 medical crew, and 1 patient, it is a practical jet with a range over 5000 km. Mid Size jets are the most favored form of transport for most international air ambulance services due to their economy and efficiency. Other jets with a similar configuration are Bombardier Learjet 60, Embraer Legacy 450/500 and Praetor 500/600, Gulfstream G150, and Hawker 900.
A recent article in AirMed & Rescue magazine highlights the rise in demand for long-range jets in the wake of pandemic restrictions and shortages of fuel. This was primarily motivated by the need to reduce stops and thereby overcome potential problems including time-consuming administrative work put in place by Covid protocols, besides fueling.
Long-range jets can fly over 7000 km, and include flights such as Bombardier Global Express and the Challenger CL 605. Wealthy patients who demand extra-large cabins, or obese patients, are seen as potential customers of the large and long-range jets by some of the bigger operators, who have recently invested in them, besides multi-patient transport needs in the wake of certain global emergencies.
Authorities at EURAMI are quoted as noting that the fleet pattern in most providers changed significantly to introduce a few more long-range and ultra-long-range jets. They also noted that assistance and insurance companies found these high-capacity jets to be cost-effective as they could even carry up to four patients per flight, even as they ensured patient privacy and carried a lot of extra equipment.
However, after the pandemic blip, the demand and operator capacity for long-range jets aren’t too high. In fact, the major assistance companies and operators consider the current expansion as an extra preparation for potential future situations and even run their long-range jets primarily for mixed-use purposes rather than as dedicated air ambulances.
The Mid Size jets, however, continue to be the most popular form of transport for medical transfers both within countries and across borders. They are also more versatile and easier to land at smaller or busier airports. Besides, most patients prefer the privacy offered by their own dedicated Air Ambulance jet. And best of all, jets like the C680, with a relatively larger cabin and longer range than smaller jets, offer the best of both worlds.