Air Ambulance Services of Norway is responsible for all air ambulance (both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters) in Norway.The company is owned by the four regional health authorities (RHF) in Norway.
The service is nationwide, supporting 20,000 patients a year.
All operation of air ambulances in Norway is publically financed. Our aircraft are staffed with nurses or doctors employed by public hospitals.The service is a part of the national prehospital chain of care.
The Head Office is situated in Bodø. Our medical technical division is in Trondheim and our Flight Coordination Center is in Tromsø.
The aviation part of the National Air Ambulance Service is put out to tender.
Two civilian air operators are under contract by Air Ambulance Services of Norway;
- Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance AS: provides all our fixed wing aircraft.
- Norsk Luftambulanse AS: provides all our helicopters.
The service operates 14 helicopters located at 13 bases: Arendal, Lørenskog (2), Ål, Dombås, Stavanger, Bergen, Førde, Ålesund, Trondheim, Brønnøysund, Harstad, Tromsø og Kirkenes.
Airbus H135 T3 Airbus H 145 T2 Leonardo AW139
The service operates 9 fixed wing aircraft located at 7 bases: Gardermoen (2), Ålesund, Brønnøysund, Bodø, Tromsø, Alta (2) og Kirkenes.
Beech KingAir B250. Foto: Johnn Tollefsen BSAA AS. Cessna Citation Latitude C680A
The medical crew at helicopter bases has at their disposal a Rapid Response Car. This car is used for nearby emergencies or when the weather prevents using the helicopter. The Rapid Response cars are funded by the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.
The Ministry of Health and Care services has entered an agreement with The Ministry of Justice and Public Security which allows The National Air Ambulance Service to use Search and Rescue Helicopters for ambulance missions when they are available. This service is situated at six locations (Banak, Bodø, Ørland, Florø, Sola and Rygge) and all bases provide readiness 24 hours a day.
The Search and Rescue helicopters are coordinated by The Joint Rescue Coordination Centres (Bodø and Sola). The medical capacity is similar to the smaller ambulance helicopters.
The transportation of patients with air ambulance has been carried out since about 1930 in Norway. In 1924, the Red Cross launched the idea of transporting patients with airplanes. The first known transport was performed in 1932 with Viggo Widerøe as pilot. When the airline Widerøe was established in 1934 one of their purposes was to perform air ambulance transports. After WWII small civilian seaplanes performed these missions in the western and northern parts of Norway,later helicopters were also used. The Norwegian Air Force performed air ambulance missions with their Catalina-aircraft, some of these missions were far offshore. The concept of dedicated physician staffed air ambulance helicopters was introduced in 1978 by Doctor Jens Moe. A foundation, now known as the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation, was established to secure the financial aspects of the operation.
Photo: The aircraft «Norseman» performed air ambulance missions after WWII.
The national air ambulance service was established in 1988 under the leadership of Tove Strand Gerhardsen who at that time was the Minister of Social Affairs. Airlines won contracts with The National Insurance Administration to provide dedicated emergency care with specially equipped ambulance airplanes and helicopters (Statens Luftambulanse). The county hospitals provided healthcare personnel.
Following the hospital reform in 2002 the responsibility for air ambulance services was transferred to the five (now four) Regional Health Authorities. In 2004 they established a joint subsidiary, National Air Ambulance Services of Norway.