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Flying Doctors Asia adds plane to fleet

Another two jets to join air ambulance fleet by year-end


(SINGAPORE) Flying Doctors Asia (FDA), a fully-owned subsidiary of jet charter company Executive Jets Asia Inc (EJA), has added a second Gulfstream Westwind 2 aircraft to its existing fleet of a Westwind 1 and a Cessna Citation 500.

This makes FDA the largest all-jet air ambulance provider in Asia. The two Westwinds are based in Singapore, while the Citation 500 is based in Manila, the Philippines.

According to CEO and co-founder of FDA and EJA, Prithpal Singh, FDA's fleet size will increase to five by December, when a larger Hawker 700 jet aircraft and another Westwind 2 aircraft will go into service, based in Singapore.

'With more aircraft and an all-jet fleet which can fly non-stop for five to six hours, FDA is in a strong position to more than meet our customers' increasing expectations for bigger, more comfortable, longer range aircraft, and the security and reliability of back-up aircraft in the region which can be deployed within three hours,' he said. 'Another major plus is that we offer multiple flight crews. This allows the evacuation of patients without the need for rest stops for crew during longer flights.'

The role of jets as air ambulances has taken off in a big way around the region over the last few years, as a result of the growth of travel and tourism, and the increasing growth of regional medical hubs such as Singapore.

Critically sick clients and accident cases in the region increasingly choose to be taken to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok for treatment.

'More and more travellers too are now properly insured,' Mr Singh said. 'As a result, in the event of any mishap, injury or sickness while they are away from home, they can and are often evacuated from wherever they are by air ambulances to the nearest internationally accredited hospital.'

However, FDA noted that due to the economic crisis, a growing number of patients are also being evacuated to secondary cities with internationally accredited hospitals - Penang, Malacca, and Manila - as these offer medical services at a lower cost.

FDA provides ICU and emergency-trained doctors and nurses who accompany the patient throughout from the time he is picked up from his hospital, during his flight and right up to the point when he is admitted into a hospital at his destination.

Executive Jets Asia and now Flying Doctors Asia has carried out more than 1,000 evacuations in the last five years. Most of FDA's clients are hospitals, medical assistance companies, insurance companies, doctors and clinics.

Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.



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