President Muizzu speaking at a meeting held in R. Alifushi. Photo/President's Office

Pres pledges Seaplane ambulance service in three weeks

Managing medical evacuations via the national carrier could put quite a strain on commercial flight schedules.

3 March 2024

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

Seaplane air ambulance services will also be launched in a few weeks, President Mohammed Muizzu said on Saturday.

The government introduced the air ambulance service on Friday as announced earlier. The service was launched by a Maldivian Dash-8 aircraft. The President spoke about the government’s vision to further expand this service at a rally in R. Alifushi on Saturday.

"I am planning to expand the air ambulance service as well. Seaplanes will also start flying in two weeks [or] in three weeks, offering air ambulance services," he said in Alifushi, which was the first destination of his three-day tour to both Raa and Baa atolls that began on Saturday.

The President said the introduction of the air ambulance seaplane service will enable emergency patients to be transported from islands without airports, and that would be a huge relief for the people, he said.

"So we will fly a seaplane and a Dash-8 as air ambulances. Then we can do this ourselves, in our own capacity," he said, noting that he is trying to do the rest without relying on anyone.

The President reiterated the promises he made to the island during his presidential campaign and assured that he would fulfil them. However, he asked the people to elect a candidate who will cooperate with the government in the upcoming parliamentary elections to fulfil those promises.

While the President announced the launch of air ambulance services, Indian aircrafts were used previously to transport patients from islands. Reliable sources confirm to Atoll Times that managing medical evacuations via the national carrier will put quite a strain on commercial flight schedules and could potentially cause losses to the Island Aviation Services company.

The air ambulance service is provided through cooperation between the Ministry of Health, NSPA and Island Aviation. According to the information provided by the agencies:

  • The plane will transport the patient to the nearest hospital, with 15 trained health workers, along with emergency medical facilities

  • Trained health workers at task include doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians

  • The air ambulance service will be added to the existing Maldives Emergency Medical Service system

The Ministry of Health has said that the main objective of launching the air ambulance service is to establish it in a strong and sustainable manner.