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On Sept. 25, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, STARS base received its first Airbus H145 helicopter as part of a fleet renewal project. The aircraft is actually the third H145 delivered under this initiative. With the fleet of BK117s reaching the end of their service life, it was determined that a new aircraft type be purchased to ensure STARS’ ability to continue serving Canada’s prairies. “The Airbus H145 was determined to be the best aircraft to meet our needs and move our organization forward, into the future,” said Andrea Robertson, president and CEO of STARS.
An independent review of the long-term sustainability of STARS indicated a move from a fleet of two aircraft types to one type. This means that STARS’ Leonardo AW139 is also being replaced by the H145. This fleet renewal will help ensure that STARS continues to operate safely and will control costs of overall operations.
Airbus Helicopters Canada president and COO Dwayne Cherette was also in attendance for the H145 welcome ceremony. During his speech, Cherette hailed STARS’ decision to buy the H145 and put its faith in the new aircraft. “By choosing the H145, you have chosen one of the most reliable and flexible aircraft of its type; easily adaptable for any mission.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe outlined the importance of STARS, and its ability to carry out its mission in Saskatchewan. “STARS has proven itself time and time again, providing rapid response to our families during medical emergencies, right across this province.” Moe was fortunate to fly in the H145 as a passenger, and before its arrival at the Saskatoon base, the new aircraft landed on the new helipad at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.
Further tying into being based in Saskatchewan, the last three letters of the aircraft’s registration number, LLS, stand for “Land of Living Skies” — the province’s motto.
The fleet renewal will bring in a total of nine H145s, serving STARS’ bases in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Total cost for the renewal is being covered through private donations, corporate sponsorship, as well as funding from the provincial governments of each province.