September 23, 2010 10:00 ET

A New Era for Transport Medicine Takes Flight in Ontario

New State-Of-The-Art Medically Equipped AW139 Helicopters to Enhance Patient Care Across Province

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 23, 2010) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available via Marketwire on the picture wire of The Canadian Press.

Ornge, a world leader in the field of transport medicine, is proud to introduce the most significant fleet upgrade in the history of aero medical transport in Ontario. The first of the new AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters were unveiled this morning at the Ornge base at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The new helicopters will transport Ornge's medical teams who provide services for patients requiring advanced and critical levels of care during transport.

Ornge paramedics and pilots employed by CHL, the operator of Ornge rotor aircraft, will begin transporting patients in the new high-performance medium twin turbine helicopters over the coming months. Ornge purchased ten AW139 aircraft from AgustaWestland, a Finnmeccanica company, in 2008 to replace the older fleet of Sikorsky S76 helicopters currently in use at Ornge bases across the province. 

"As innovators in our field, we are on the cutting edge of both aviation and medicine," said Dr. Christopher Mazza, Ornge CEO and Emergentologist. "The AW139 medically-equipped aircraft will help us to deliver a modern, high quality, sustainable transport medicine program for Ontario patients today and for generations to come."

The AW139 is the most technologically advanced rotor wing aircraft in air medical transport today. The fastest helicopter in its class, it is capable of operating in a wide variety of weather conditions – from extreme heat to extreme cold – found across Ontario's one million square kilometers. Ornge is the first AgustaWestland client in North America to have a full ice protection installed in medically equipped helicopters. The AW139 also has enhanced safety and environmental features.

Giuseppe Orsi, Chief Executive Officer, AgustaWestland said: "We are proud to be part of this new era in transport medicine in Ontario providing the best medium twin helicopter to such a leading operator and to the benefit of the large community they serve. The AW139 will enable Ornge to perform a quantum leap forward in operational capability to successfully accomplish the mission and save lives in the harshest conditions when other models would be confined to the hangar."

Each helicopter is outfitted with an advanced full medical interior designed and configured by Ornge transport medicine physicians and paramedics in collaboration with Aerolite, a world leader in medical helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft interiors. 

In January 2006, Ornge began coordinating all aspects of the province's transport medicine system. Since then, Ornge has transported nearly 95,000 patients more than 30 million statute miles – over 1,200 times around the earth -- in its rotor and fixed wing aircraft, along with its critical care land units.


Ornge is the world's leading innovator in the emerging field of transport medicine, and operates from a number of bases across the province of Ontario and performs more than 20,000 admissions annually. It coordinates all aspects of Ontario's aero medical transport system, the new critical care land transport program, paediatric transport program and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers between hospitals. Ornge is dedicated to the provision of high quality patient care through innovative transport medicine.


AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is a technology leader in its markets and has an unrivalled range of rotorcraft products designed to satisfy the requirements of commercial and military customers. AgustaWestland has its main operations in Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Supporting Quotes:
"On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I would like to congratulate Ornge on the introduction of its new AgustaWestland AW139 medically-equipped helicopters. Ontario patients can take comfort in having an innovative, world class transport medicine program at their service. With these new cutting edge helicopters, Ornge will carry on its tradition of high quality patient care during transport."
Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
"As operators of one of the best transport medicine programs in North America, Ornge continues to demonstrate its commitment to excellence in providing care to Ontario's patients. Today's announcement will mean that more Ontarians will have access to safe, reliable care."
Hon. Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
"We congratulate Ornge on choosing AgustaWestland to supply its fleet of medical transport helicopters. The AW139 is a good fit for Ontario and we look forward to working with AgustaWestland in the years to come."
Hon. Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

Contact Information

  • Ornge Media Relations
    James MacDonald
    (416) 531-7577
    Gianluca Grimaldi
    Head of Media Relations
    +39 0331229172