The new purpose-built base is under construction with its two Brisbane-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue AW139 helicopters and crews planning to move into the new base by the end of the year. The choppers and crews are currently located in a leased hangar at Brisbane Airport.
The new Archerfield facility will include two helicopter parking areas for the state-of-the-art AW139s and space for both choppers in the hangar, as well as purpose-built on site accommodation for four crew – two medical staff and two aircrew.
LifeFlight Chief Operating Officer Brian Guthrie said the move from Brisbane Airport to Archerfield Airport would reduce some operational costs and would also mean that RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters could become airborne more quickly on a consistent basis.
“While we do receive priority at Brisbane Airport for aeromedical evacuations, the move will mean improved air traffic movements over any 24 hour period for our rescue helicopters due to Archerfield being outside the major airport control zone,” said Mr Guthrie.
The new facility is expected to cost more than $500,000 with Archerfield Airport Corporation contributing to the construction cost.
Brisbane is LifeFlight’s busiest aeromedical base with 2016-17 proving to be a record year for lifesaving missions. The Brisbane base last year flew 647 lifesaving missions covering a 450km radius with crews flying north to Gladstone, west to Roma and as far south as Grafton, New South Wales.
The new Brisbane base will also include a 40,000 litre refuelling facility (supported by corporate partner IOR Petroleum) which will benefit LifeFlight’s crews at other regional bases, allowing them to quickly refuel after they have airlifted patients to Brisbane hospitals before returning to their home base.
Queensland Health have also sponsored construction of the crew accommodation module which will house up to two medical staff and two aircrew, while there will also be offices for engineering, training, medical, a crew operations room and ‘rec room’.
Archerfield Airport Corporation (AAC) welcomed LifeFlight’s enhanced presence at the airport.
Airport General Manager, Heather Mattes, said LifeFlight’s relocation to purpose-built facilities would complement AAC’s vision to develop Archerfield Airport into a key aeromedical/emergency services hub for South East Queensland.
“Archerfield Airport is already ‘home’ to specialist emergency and aeromedical retrieval service providers Queensland Government Air Wing and Rescue 500, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, the Queensland Police Service and LifeFlight’s heavy maintenance operations,” she said.
“We look forward to watching the facility take shape over the coming months and expanding the airport’s role in aeromedical/emergencies service provision for Queenslanders.”
New LifeFlight corporate partner – Gold Coast-based LED lighting expert Aqualuma – have also agreed to sponsor lighting for the new base featuring Australian designed and manufactured, energy efficient commercial LED lights.
LifeFlight will lease the facility from Archerfield Airport Corporation.
2016-17 was a record year for LifeFlight for lifesaving missions with its aeromedical crews, community helicopters and Air Ambulance jets performing a record 5,252 missions throughout Queensland and around the world.
LifeFlight is a community-based charity funded and supported by the LifeFlight Foundation.
To support the LifeFlight Foundation visit:www.lifeflightfoundation.org.au