Skyservice Air Ambulance, now skyalta, was established in 1989 and has a long, rich history in the provision of high quality, accident free air ambulance transportation on a global basis.
From our bases in Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario, Canada, we have become known as the world’s most experienced air ambulance service.
Skyservice Air Ambulance was honored to have been nominated for the ITIJ Air Ambulance of the Year award. When we were nominated, it got us thinking of where we are and how we got here, sharing our past and sharing our future.
We launched our program in September, 1989 with our first aircraft, a Cessna Citation II. Our mission profile was mostly rescuing patients located in remote communities of Canada, such as Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.
From that initial experience, we realized that we had an opportunity to enhance our medical services delivery system, thus creating an association with McGill University. At that time, our medical director Michael Churchill-Smith, MD developed one of the first aviation medicine fellowship programs, which to this day are active and thriving. We remain an active participant.
By developing this unique program we were able to improve the level of care to our patients. Additionally, instead of bringing non-acute stable patients from the north, we began to transport high acuity critical care patients. We also developed neonatal transport capabilities. This occurred in January 1990.
We developed a knowledge of the remote communities, so Canadian travel insurance companies turned to us to repatriate sick and injured patients that were out of country. We were one of the first companies in North America to supply this service to travel insurers. With the increased demand for quality air ambulance services for travelers, we reviewed the aircraft type in 1990; the aircraft of choice was the Learjet 24 and Learjet 25. We took the time to evaluate options and decided to proceed with the Learjet 35A. Over the next few years we purchased our fleet.
In 1992 we retired our Cessna Citation II, and in 1995 we purchased our fifth and last Learjet 35A. Over the next 23 years we went through multiple image changes, below are our five aircraft with our different liveries over the years.
During this period we achieved many first milestones as a company:
- One of the first air ambulance operators to meet all the aviation criteria to fly overseas in the mid-1990’s.
- One of the first to transport a Neonatal patient from the Middle East to North America in the mid 90’s.
- Our Learjet 35A fleet was one of the only providers that offered dual patient air ambulance transport in North America.
As the years progressed we continued to improve on delivering state of the art medical equipment and continued to push the envelope in medical transport for our patients and clients worldwide.
In the mid 2000’s we were one of the first air ambulance providers to transport a patient on an inter-aortic balloon pump for a flight duration time of over 3 hours. Skyservice Air Ambulance was the first air ambulance provider in North America to become EURAMI accredited for Special Care in 2007.
In 2010, we continued to advance critical care aeromedicine as the only air ambulance provider to transport a patient on two left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) pumps simultaneously from the United Kingdom to North America, so the patient could receive a new heart transplant.
In 2011, we were again called upon to transport a critically ill child from Japan to North America using Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).
Skyservice Air Ambulance completed these flights which were challenging and involved a team that could problem solve the challenges and evaluate the risk that all of the patients were exposed to. More importantly we approach all of our patient transports this way to ensure that we manage both the patient and our clients risk safely and efficiently.
As we continued to advance critical care air medical transport, in 2010 the process of fleet renewal evaluation began, in 2011 we purchased our first Learjet 45XR. Skyservice Air Ambulance was the first provider in North America that has a medically dedicated Learjet 45XR fleet. In 2012 our second Learjet 45XR joined the fleet with our third Learjet 45 XR scheduled to join the fleet by years end.
The new Learjet 45XR fleet are equipped to transport two patients on Lifeport stretcher systems. The interior was modified with a custom, certified medical cabinet that permits us to carry maximum medical oxygen supply for our high acuity intensive care patients. skyalta has invested heavily in patient care equipment for the future. The renewal of equipment to Physio Control Lifepak 15’s to the state of the art T1 Hamilton Ventilators which improve patient ventilatory care during transport. The goal is not to just maintain their care but to improve their medical condition and treatment enroute to have an impact on the patients outcomes with a quicker and non delayed recovery.
Now skyalta, we are proud to be part of the travel insurance industry and to offer our patients and partners the highest levels of acute adult, neonatal and pediatric care available on a global basis. We strive to innovate within the industry and to educate our travel insurance partners on a yearly basis through open houses, participation and presentation at medical case management symposiums and aviation physiology training for their in-house medical staff.
As we continue to grow as skyalta, we have welcomed our 31,000th patient on board. Our future is bright and with our investments in aircraft and medical equipment we will continue to remain an industry leader going forward.