Gama takes over all Scottish air ambulance missions and reveals other contract wins


Gama Aviation has taken over all SAS’s HEMS missions. Captain Andy Lister, head of

flight operations, Scotland (fourth from the left) is pictured with some of his team.

Gama Aviation is conducting all Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) missions from today (Monday June 1st). The company has also revealed two other specialist contract wins. Those are: the re-awarding of its military aviation review (MAR) contract with Joint Helicopter Command and Command HQ (RAF) and a new contract to complete Transmitting Portable Electronic Devices (TPED) testing on emergency services aircraft.

In preparation for SAS missions, three new Airbus H145 HEMS-equipped aircraft have been purchased, with two of the three air aircraft entering service today. Also entering service today are a highly experienced pilot and engineering support team and a new, purpose-built facility in Inverness. The Inverness facility complements Gama Aviation’s investments in Glasgow and Aberdeen, providing the infrastructure support to improve air/ground patient transitions and maintain aircraft availability across fixed wing and rotary operations.

Pauline Howie, SAS chief executive, welcomed the new arrivals. “Gama Aviation has delivered consistent, high-quality service for nearly three decades with the Scottish Ambulance Service as part of our emergency pre-hospital care response. Bringing fast medical care to patients as well as quick life-saving transport to hospital, these helicopters will continue to support the whole of Scotland when needed during these difficult times and into the future.”

Mark Gascoigne, MD, Gama Aviation, Europe Air, added: “As the prime contractor, we believed there were additional material service improvements that could be delivered using new facilities and a new team. With the permission and oversight of the SAS team, we’ve spent the past 18 months instituting a change that will improve the service to the people of Scotland.  The gains will be marginal, but HEMS operations rely on a constant commitment to improve, and that is what we are focusing on with new aircraft, exceptional pilots and brilliant engineers.”

Gama described its investment in the HEMS market as “a strategic shift towards the special mission rotary market, an area that is complementary to its existing fixed wing special mission capability”. Current special mission clients include: air ambulance, law enforcement and defence agencies.

Gama re-appointed to deliver MARs

In a second contract win, Gama Aviation, together with Atkins, has been reappointed to continue delivering MARs reviews to the Royal Air Force’s HQ Air Command (HQ Air) and The British Army’s Joint Helicopter Command (JHC).

The contract renewal means Gama Aviation and Atkins will continue the work they have been undertaking for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) since 2014. During that time more than 2,500 MARs have been completed across a wide range of battlefield helicopters, combat jets, large transport and intelligence-gathering aircraft, as well as training and vintage aircraft. The new contract will see the team deliver airworthiness reviews for the next three years for HQ Air, and five years for JHC.

Led by Atkins, the reviews confirm that MOD aircraft are fit for deployment for the next 12 months. The reviews include verifying that all maintenance activity has been successfully carried out and correctly recorded.

Scott McVicar, MD for Europe Ground at Gama Aviation, said: “Our relationship with Atkins and Headquarters Air Command has grown over the past six years to the extent where we have an intimate understanding of the task and the operational requirements of our client. Simplifying complex tasks, delivering diligently and creating strong platforms that perform are core to our business. I believe that this re-award, in the face of strong competition, is testament to the value that Gama Aviation and Atkins are delivering to our client.”

Gama wins TPED-testing contract

Gama Aviation also revealed it has won a contract from the Home Office to complete TPED testing on several emergency services aircraft in-line with the delivery of the new Emergency Services Network (ESN).

ESN is the next generation of critical communications for the three emergency services and other user organisations. One part of the network is the development of a 4G LTE Air to Ground (A2G) network and Aircraft Communication System (ACS).

Under the contract, which has been awarded from April 2020 – April 2021, Gama will conduct early electro-magnetic compatibility testing on emergency services aircraft in preparation for ACS installation. The company will complete this testing on a number of different aircraft to gain approval from EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency).

McVicar said: “We are delighted to win another contract with the UK government. I believe this demonstrates our continued ability to deliver appropriate solutions across a wide variety of current and future mission for the UK’s emergency services.”


Gama Aviation business news – at a glance

-Takes over all Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) missions from today (Monday, June 1st)

-Reappointed, with Atkins, to conduct military aviation reviews (MARs) for Joint Helicopter Command and Command HQ (RAF)

– Wins contract to complete Transmitting Portable Electronic Devices (TPED) testing on several emergency services aircraft.

Three new Airbus H145 HEMS-equipped aircraft have been purchased in preparation for SAS missions.