Scottish Airline Transforms Its Planes Into Special Ambulances for Patients During Pandemic

The airline is converting both a Twin Otter and a Saab 340 into air ambulances.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Although COVID-19 is the cause of much despair in the world it has also been the cause of much hope with individuals and even companies getting creative to assist others during these trying times. Now, news has come of Scottish airline Loganair transforming its planes into special ambulances that can carry COVID-19 patients.


Air ambulance capability

"Further to a statement made today by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Loganair can confirm it is working closely with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to provide air ambulance capability - as the Service faces the unprecedented challenges borne by the COVID-19 outbreak," said the airline in a statement.

Loganair's planes are being converted into flying ambulances through the use of European Union-funded "EpiShuttles." These are single patient isolation pods created by Norwegian-based firm EpiGuard.

EpiShuttles "can be safely used in ambulances, helicopters, and airplanes," according to their maker. They can "be configured to either protect the surroundings from the patient, or to protect the patient from the surroundings."

Currently, Loganair has already transformed a Twin Otter aircraft into an air ambulance suitable for carrying these EpiShuttles and is now working on a larger Saab 340 aircraft conversion. This larger plane will operate on all Highlands and Islands airports with the exception of Barra which will be served by the Twin Otter.

Team effort

“The team effort to make this happen, moving from a concept to an operational solution in just a week, has been absolutely incredible. Between the SAS and Loganair teams, the concept, testing, and training have all taken place and we’re also grateful for the support from the Civil Aviation Authority in progressing this project," said Loganair’s Chief Executive Jonathan Hinkles.

“Although the circumstances under which all of this work has been undertaken are ones that we’d never have wished to see, I’m heartened that the effort which has gone into this is truly admirable. We will support the Scottish Ambulance Service, the NHS, and the island communities who rely on Loganair for their lifeline air services if and when our assistance is needed.”

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