Patients requiring emergency travel for medical care will benefit from a new state-of-the-art fleet of air ambulance airplanes.
“When someone you love is critically ill or injured, they deserve the best and fastest care possible,” said Premier David Eby. “Throughout this vast province, we are building new hospitals, cancer-care clinics and urgent primary care centres. By deploying new air ambulances, we are ensuring patients get the quality care they need quickly.”
BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) is replacing its existing fleet with a total of 12 new Beechcraft King Air 360CHW air ambulances. Nine of the airplanes will be in regular operation and three will be backups. The first of these new airplanes went into service on May 1, 2024. This is possible due to a provincial investment of $673 million over 10 years.
“B.C.’s air ambulances make sure that patients, often with the most critical-care needs, can quickly access the health care they need,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Upgrading B.C.’s fleet with next-generation airplanes means patients will have improved comfort and care during transport, while paramedics benefit from consistent features and layout across the fleet.”
Air ambulances allow patients to be treated by highly trained paramedics while they are being transported. These airplanes are the fastest way to travel to a health-care facility, especially for patients in hard-to-reach areas. These aircraft are used both in emergency medical response and to transfer patients between health-care facilities.
The new aircrafts have several features that will benefit patients across the province, including:
• the ability to land on gravel runways;
• expanded capabilities forspecialized care;
• improved patient and paramedic safety through power stretcher compatibility; and • uniform layout and design that will improve patient outcomes and expanded flight crews.
Air ambulances will remain stationed in their current locations with three airplanes each in Vancouver and Kelowna, two in Prince George and one in Fort St. John.
These new air ambulances build on historical progress to improve ambulance services for patients by adding more paramedics, adding more vehicles and updating fleets of vehicles used by paramedics.
In 2023-24, paramedics, dispatchers and call takers responded to 596,014 emergency medical
events and completed 71,198 interfacility patient transfers throughout the province, including 8,290 patient transports involving air resources, 6,177 of which were by airplane. Approximately 70% of calls for air ambulances use airplanes and 30% use helicopters.
Since 2017, spending on emergency health services has increased by more than $475 million, reaching close to $1 billion in 2023-24. These investments have helped to increase BCEHS staffing, training and mental-health support, as well as access to ambulance services across B.C., especially in rural and remote communities.
Learn More:
To learn more about Carson Air, visit:
For information about BC Emergency Health Services adding more ambulances and paramedic response units, visit:
For information about B.C. government’s work to expand the health workforce, including paramedics, visit: