By Sylvie Péron
In the midst of the pandemic now hitting Europe and rapidly spreading around the globe, FAI, Germany’s leading Air Ambulance Specialist and Special Mission Operator has been working around the clock to help evacuate those in need following unprecedented demand from the spread of coronavirus. This includes both medical evacuations of infected patients and repatriation flights of unaffected healthy individuals from all corners of the globe.
Following its recent purchase of two portable self-contained isolation units, EPI-Shuttle, FAI can transport infected patients without any risk for the flight or medical crew. A trained dedicated medical team accompanies all medevac missions for the pre-flight temperature screening and the availability of medical or nursing care in flight, as required.
The company is currently operating at maximum capacity, averaging around six missions per day with its 10-strong fleet of five Learjet 60s, four Bombardier Challenger 604, and one Global Express air ambulance aircraft. Additionally, FAI is supplementing its fleet with its executive charter fleet of 27 business jets and one King Air 350 turboprop. “We are working hard to fulfil all requests coming in 24/7 for repatriation and medevac flights as rapidly and as efficiently as we can and will continue to do so as long as is practically possible,” said Siegfried Axtmann, Chairman and Founder of FAI Aviation Group. “We deeply regret that we can’t help everybody immediately. The demand is such that we currently have a backlog of three days.”
FAI has enlisted the support of all its 70-strong team of pilots to perform duties. The biggest challenge remains scheduling given entry restrictions now in place in many countries around the world, many of which are not allowing entry for crew rest and pre-positioning. FAI is the world’s largest fixed wing air ambulance jet operator by revenue, logging far above 10,000 hours per year flying air ambulance missions. The company’s fleet is based at its Headquarters at Albrecht Dürer International Airport in Nuremberg. The air ambulance division specialises in air support in hostile areas for the world´s largest NGO. It typically averages three intercontinental medical evacuations per day for its global client base.