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On Sept. 25, the Saskatoon STARS base received an Airbus H145 helicopter as part of a fleet renewal project — the third delivered under this initiative. With an aging fleet of BK117s reaching the end of its service life, it was determined that a new aircraft type be purchased to ensure STARS ability to continue serving the Prairies.
“The Airbus H145 was determined to be the best aircraft to meet our needs and move our organization forward, into the future,” remarked Andrea Robertson, president and CEO of STARS.
An independent review of the long-term sustainability of STARS indicated a move from a fleet of two aircraft to one type. This means that the AgustaWestland AW139 is also being replaced by the H145. This fleet renewal will help ensure that STARS continues to operate safely and control costs of overall operations.
Airbus Helicopters Canada president and COO Dwayne Charette, was also in attendance for the H145 welcome ceremony. During his speech, Charette hailed STARS’ decision to buy the H145, and put its faith in the new aircraft.
“By choosing the H145, you have chosen one of the most reliable and flexible aircraft of its type; easily adaptable for any mission,” he said.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe outlined the importance of STARS, and its ability to carry out its mission in Saskatchewan. “STARS has proven itself time and time again, providing rapid response to our families during medical emergencies, right across this province.”
Moe was fortunate to fly in on the H145 as a passenger, and before its arrival at the Saskatoon base, the new aircraft landed on the new helipad at the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital. Further tying into being based in Saskatchewan, the last three letters of the civil identity, LLS, stands for “land of living skies,” the province’s motto.
The fleet renewal will bring in a total of nine H145s, serving STARS bases in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Total cost for the renewal is being covered through private donations, corporate sponsorship and funding from the provincial governments of each province.