GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The sky is the limit now that the STARS Grande Prairie base has welcomed a new helicopter as part of an initiative to renew the non-profit air ambulance’s fleet.
In 2018, STARS unveiled its multi-year Keep the Fight in Flight capital campaign to renew its BK117 and AW139 aircraft with new, medically-equipped Airbus H145 helicopters for $13 million each, STARS said in a release.
The new Airbus H145 helicopter will serve patients in Northern Alberta and the Peace region.
“Today is about celebrating the fact that our fleet renewal program is now a reality,” said STARS president and CEO Andrea Robertson.
“It is also about paying tribute to our community allies who helped build STARS in this part of the province fifteen years ago and who have sustained it ever since.”
STARS marked this milestone with a celebration at the GP STARS base, attended by federal, provincial, and municipal government representatives and community partners, allies, STARS crew, and former patients.
The rescue service says the new helicopter has already begun helping patients in the area after just one week in service.
All six STARS bases across Western Canada will be operating the new helicopter model later this year, thanks to the generous support of donors, the service said.
“Our supporters ride along with us on every mission, and now they have helped us build the next STARS fleet,” said Robertson.
“These new aircraft are an investment in our ability to serve the people of Grande Prairie and the region for decades to come. We’re incredibly grateful to the community for helping us reach our goal.”