and charter operator Deccan Aviation will be partners in a new helicopter-based
air ambulance service plan. The two companies plan to rope in medical insurance
companies, to drive up the market.
large number of emergency cases need air evacuation for timely medical attention.
Helicopter services are expensive, and it is up to health insurance companies
to make it affordable by offering it as an option in their policies, said Apollo
Hospitals executive director for operations Sangita Reddy, and Deccan Aviation
executive chairman Capt GR Gopinath in Bangalore on Wednesday 12 September.
Apollo group has so far made 400 emergency airlifts in the past two-and-a-half
years. Each trip can cost the patient Rs1 lakh to Rs2 lakh ($2,480 to $4,958)
depending on the distance to the hospital, or around Rs 75,000 ($1,860) an hour,
Reddy said. With proper insurance policies, the cost could be brought down. Corporates
could tie up with insurance companies for the service, she said.
to Reddy, up to 10 cases a day across the country could require emergency airlifts.
"An alarming number of patients and accident victims can die because they
don''t get medical help in the first or golden hour of a medical crisis,"
Capt Gopinath said. Third-party administrator MediAssist is sharing the cost with
Aviation, the 10-year-old chartered helicopter operator, has a fleet of 10 helicopters
and two small planes stationed at Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ranchi,
Surat and Katra in Jammu & Kashmir.
will offer the services of Deccan Aviation''s helicopters in Bangalore, Delhi,
Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, where it has either roof helipads or landing facilities.
One of Deccan''s helicopters took off from Jakkur, 30 km away, and landed within
15 minutes at the 250-bed New Apollo Hospitals in south Bangalore.
service, part of Apollo Emergency Specialists 1066, will be available within half
an hour of call, along with onboard life support systems, trained personnel and
care during flight, said Dr Umapathy Panyala, COO, New Apollo.