A NEW generation of air ambulance helicopters will cut flying time and offer more on-board room as part of a multi-million pound deal.
Two new aircraft will be used by the Scottish Ambulance Service from 2014 as part of a deal worth £120million over seven years, the Scottish Government said.
The EC 145T2 models will reduce flight times, with the ability to reach anywhere across the mainland, Western Isles and Orkney in under an hour. The aircraft will also not need refuelled as frequently as current ones.
The move means more space for extra medical staff and relatives of patients and carers who will travel, when appropriate.
As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Times, Euan Cameron was the first child born on an air ambulance - 4000ft above Loch Awe.
Proud parents Marion and Iain Cameron have finally had the chance to thank paramedic Chris Aitchison, of Hamilton, who delivered the tot, now 13 months old.
At the launch at the heli- port in Glasgow, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "The Scottish Ambulance Service air ambulance is the only publicly funded air ambulance ser- vice in the UK and this con- tract will deliver a world-class, future-proof service.
"It is important that patients can rely on a safe, responsive and high-quality air ambulance service and these new larger and faster helicopters can do just that."
The EC 145T2 replaces the EC 135 models in Inver- ness and Glasgow. Earlier this year these were briefly suspended by their operator for safety checks.
King Air 200c aeroplanes in Aberdeen and Glasgow will be upgraded as part of the contract which was awarded to Gama Aviation and begins in April next year.