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  • Writer's pictureAvaitors Maldives

Fact Check: Maldivian Dash8 Air Ambulance Service

Maldivian Airlines just inaugurated its first Air Ambulance services, enhancing emergency medical evacuation capabilities across the Maldives. The airline has repurposed its existing De Havilland DHC8-200 aircraft to serve as dedicated air ambulance, providing critical care during transport.



Air Ambulance Service:


Maldivian is collaborating with the Ministry of Health and the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA) to provide air ambulance services. The dedicated aircraft will primarily serve medical evacuation flights, ensuring urgent cases receive attention within just 10 minutes of activation.


In summary, Maldivian’s reactivated Dash 8-200 is now a crucial asset for emergency medical transport, adhering to strict safety standards and offering swift response times for critical patients.


Aircraft:


Maldivian is utilizing a Dash 8-200, registered as 8Q-IAQ now repainted with a special livery. Although the aircraft is 24.5 years old, it undergoes routine rigorous maintenance checks, ensuring operational safety.


Regular inspections, including daily and weekly assessments, and more are standard practice in aviation. Despite its age an aircraft can be utilized in full safety operating under existing regulations.


Airlines simply cannot do however way they please as aviation is very strict allowing air transportation to be the safest mode of transportation.


Configuration:


Maldivian has not explicitly announced a full configuration change for the Dash 8. However, the aircraft can be fully modified to accommodate different medical needs.


Existing medical stretcher beds can already be fitted, allowing for efficient patient transport. Maldivian has been doing this for a long time and Maldivian always have handled the majority portion of all medical passenger cases.


Safety:


While there was a previous incident involving the Dash 8’s windshield sparking and igniting a minor fire, such events are not uncommon in aviation. Even major airlines operating advanced aircraft occasionally face similar issues.


It’s important to note that these incidents do not indicate a lack of safety; rather, they highlight the robust safety protocols in place across the industry.



Aircraft Utilization:


At present, one Dash8 aircraft serves as the designated Air Ambulance. In the future, there will be instances when this dedicated aircraft is unavailable due to maintenance or concurrent emergencies that occur simultaneously.


In such situations, they can utilize other Dash8 aircraft to fulfill the critical role of medical evacuation. This flexibility ensures that patients receive timely care, even when the primary Air Ambulance is occupied.


Having a dedicated Air Ambulance ensures preparedness for medical flights at all times. Previously, when a medical transport case arose, Maldivian Airlines had to navigate existing flight schedules to accommodate transfers.


Now, with a dedicated aircraft, this process is streamlined, enhancing efficiency and patient care.


Aviators Maldives Opinion:


The launch of the Air Ambulance service is a remarkable achievement for the nation. It significantly improves access to medical assistance for those in need. Additionally, Maldivian Airlines plans to extend this service to connect regional countries like India and Sri Lanka for medical evacuation flights.


Althougu Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Dornier and HAL helicopter operated with Indian Navy facilitated transfer of medical patients , Historically till date majority of all domestic cases and primarily all international cases have predominantly been handled by Maldivian.


This pragmatic approach chosen by the government today involves utilizing existing resources, thereby minimizing operational costs. Opting for a completely new service with different aircraft would entail substantial time and financial investments. Opting to convert the Maldivian Dash8 is the quickest and most cost efficient way to launch air ambulance service.


Future:


Looking ahead the questions to ask next are regarding strategic steps will Maldivian take next for continued Air Ambulance Service.


The Dash8 fleet is slated for complete phasing out. Currently, the carrier operates 9 Dash8 aircraft alongside 3 ATRs for its turbo prop fleet. An additional 4 ATRs are on order, with the ambitious goal of introducing a total of 8 ATRs by 2025.


As per existing plans full transition from Dash8 to ATRs will be done by 2025 phasing out the Dash8 operation in full. The questions next are:


  • Will Maldivian continue to operate Dash8 aircraft specifically for Air Ambulance services?

  • Alternatively, will a different type of aircraft be employed for this critical function?



The future trajectory of Maldivian’s Air Ambulance Service awaits further clarity.



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