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Air Alsie and Its Air Ambulance Service Experience Counts

Experience Counts

Having the right medevac service makes all the difference to the patient, whether it falls under medical tourism or not. However, it might be difficult to trust a private aviation specialist with such a stringent task unless the private airline charter is as experienced as Air Alsie. We spoke to the Danish brand's CEO, Mr. Henrik Therkelsen recently about their capabilities in this specialized aviation service.

​If you've not heard of the well-established private aircraft charter company before, Air Alsie was founded in 1988 by Jens Osterlund Jensen, out of his sheer love for flying. The aviation company is known for providing some of the best charter experiences across the globe, most especially in Europe. Almost three decades later today, the Danish aircraft management and charter services company are also known for providing an efficient air ambulance service, a crucial core to its business according to Air Alsie CEO, Mr. Henrik Therkelsen.

"Air Alsie's air ambulance service, which falls under the 'Medevac category more than 'EMS' (Emergency Medical Services), has been part of our aircraft charter company's DNA from its early formations, and it has stayed with us ever since," began Mr. Therkelsen as we began our short chat across the phone. "We've been in the business for more than 25 years and we offer ambulance f lights for both the short and long-range categories," he added.

Among the well-assembled aircraft under Air Alsie's fleet, the types that are deployed currently under air ambulance services have come mainly in the form of the Hawker 800, by Hawker Beechcraft. Therkelsen also noted that the brand has used small to-medium turbo-fan business jets previously, like that of the Cessna Citation II, V and VII, all because of the aircraft's good capability for medium range operations. "These planes, like the Hawker800 and Cessna Citation, are good for medium range operations and also come with quick-change modules that make it easy for us to swap between normal passengers and patients efficiently," said the CEO whilst pointing out how there is a dedicated Hawker800 now that has flown as far away as from New Zealand to Scandinavia.

The charter experts, headquartered in Sonderborg Airport, Denmark, also currently use the Dassault Falcon 2000 when a long-range flight is required. The Falcon 2000's specifications and layout allows Air Alsie to host up to four patients on board as well, while flying on a long-range flight, for example from Thailand to Scandinavia. It is not just the fleet of aircraft that have made Air Alsie a household name as an air ambulance service provider, it is down to the finer details that come into the mix towards meeting regulations and aviation standards, from training their medical crew to the equipment and even on to making sure that the patients are fit for air transport.

"It is a very demanding business for us, because we have to be able to mobilise on short notice to all parts of the world. Still, we transfer patients who are more or less stabilized and prepared for transport," said Therkelsen. He went on to draw a fine line between EMS and Air Alsie's Medevac services later on, how the two differ significantly, "EMS service is only to cater for more extreme and complicated, on-site illnesses and injuries. At Air Alsie, we specialise in Medevac, hence, our crew consists of anesthetic doctors and nurses who care for stabilized patients some of which could also be suffering from complicated illnesses as well."

Henrik Therkelsen was also keen to highlight on the accessibility and general demand in the current air ambulance segment of private aviation, particularly from Air Alsie's vantage point. He believes that in the present, travel has become a big part of many people's lives and as such, it has spurred on the need for more services like Air Alsie's. "Traveling has grown from a once-a-year affair to multiple times annually for some people. This is especially so with the older fraction of society, who seem to travel more and more. This works the same way in terms of travelling to seek the best medical facilities," explained Therkelsen. "There was a time when medical services across the globe were limited and there was always a need to bring people from holiday destinations with poor hospital capacity to areas where there were better hospitals.

​Today, hospital capacities have also developed and grown substantially but there is still a need for this service as aircraft travel is more accessible today as well." In this respect, Therkelsen believes that Air Alsie provides this service because there's still a positive and growing demand seeing as aircraft travel, particularly in business aviation, is more accessible now, more than ever. However, every convenience is of course dictated by costs and he was also sharp to elaborate on how the growing trend is not just to seek out luxury, but to save cost as well.

"Another factor that determines the demand for air ambulance services is the insurance part of it, or in other words, the cost of medical fees. While tourists can be far away from home, they still find it better to fly home to seek medical services and facilities because of their personal healthcare insurance policies or because of the cost-friendly, local government healthcare options in their home states."

As seasoned aircraft charter providers, Air Alsie operates mostly in Europe presently, and some of their busier main-routes during summer are between Scandinavia to the Canary Islands or Spain to Scandinavia. "Greece, Italy and Turkey are also very frequent and busy destinations within our air ambulance routes and during winter, it is very often between Thailand to Scandinavia," shared the CEO. And what of Asia, or Southeast Asia?

​"For the time being, we are only operating flights between Thailand and Denmark. However, with some of our local Asian partners, we're actively trying to explore how Air Alsie can be of any further assistance within the Southeast Asian market. There are some small players here already operating with smaller aircraft but Air Alsie can of course, offer more support with larger aircrafts that cater for more patients in one f light, which inevitably, can lower the cost per patient" said the Therkelsen.

One can expect to hear more of their services in time to come, seeing as Air Alsie's Asia Pacific base was established in 2012 in order to grow the business of aircraft management in the region. The APAC office is located in Malaysia's very own Cargo Complex of Sultan Abdul Shah International Airport in Kuala Lumpur. As we ended our phone conversation about Air Alsie's aspirations and future services, Henrik Therkelsen shared the company's vision on building further capabilities as private jet operators.Interestingly, he highlighted how the brand wishes to become specialists in the air transportation of incubated babies in time to come. When it counts though, Air Alsie has not shied away from challenging missions. The fact that the brand has handled f lights to complicated destinations like Central Africa, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria will speak for itself that Air Alsie is very experienced in handling challenging routes and patient situations.

"It's always a matter of trust when it comes to the medical care of people. We have a documented track record for the last 25 years to show clients and patients. Our doctors are very well trained, not only working with us on aircrafts, but who also helm daily locums at university-hospitals. They know how to provide the necessary care to make patients feel comfortable, which is the ultimate requirement that many of our customers seek and we have delivered this time and again."