16 Jul 2018

New jet aircraft for Pacific air ambulance

11:36 am on 16 July 2018

A New Zealand air ambulance service has completed its first medical evacuation in the Pacific with its new jet aircraft.

Hawke's Bay based Skyline Aviation dispatched the Cessna Sovereign 680 jet last week to collect a patient from Vanuatu.

Skyline Aviation staff with the new Cessna Sovereign 680.

Skyline Aviation staff with the new Cessna Sovereign 680. Photo: Supplied

The direct flight from Napier to Port Vila was made with a full intensive care team on board that accompanied the patient to Auckland for hospital care.

Skyline Aviation's managing director Mike Toogood said after five year's of service in the Pacific, the aircraft had given the company new capabilities.

It could now fly non-stop to some airports while still landing on short runways, Mr Toogood said.

"So this is really opening up the whole South Pacific basin for us," he said.

"This aircraft is also fitted with two life-port stretchers which means we can take two clinical teams and take two critically ill patients at the same time, together with some family members."

The 3000 nautical mile range of the new aircraft allowed it to reach Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, Mr Toogood said.

"It cruises at about 45,000 feet at around about 450 knots above all the other traffic," he said.

"But another important thing that this jet is able to provide is it has very good short field capability. We can land on and take off from very short runways which is quite unusual for a jet in this performance category."