STARS officially welcomed two $13-million new helicopters to its Calgary base on Thursday.
They are the first units in a program STARS launched last year to upgrade its aging fleet of BK117s and AW139s, which it says are difficult to find parts for and costly to maintain.
One of the new Airbus H145s is funded by the Government of Alberta.
STARS says that nine new helicopters are required to replace its fleet, at a cost of $13 million each, medically equipped.
“Thanks to the generous support of federal and provincial government allies, STARS is well on its way to achieving its goal. A capital campaign will continue to raise funds to replace the rest of the fleet,” STARS said in a statement.
The oil and gas industry is a major STARS supporter. The Petroleum Services Association of Canada hosts the annual STARS & SPURS Gala, which is Alberta’s largest and longest-running fundraising event.
This January the gala raised a record $1.4 million for the air ambulance, bringing the total to $17 million since inception.
STARS has flown more than 40,000 missions since 1985.
The two new helicopters are expected to enter service later this summer.