Memphis organisation aims to base TriStar in Cambodia after year-long grounding

A humanitarian organisation has purchased a hospital-configured Lockheed L-1011 that it plans to base at a newly reopened airport in Cambodia alongside a fleet of L-100s. The L-100 is the civil version of the C-130 Hercules.

Global Flying Hospitals (GFH) plans to resuscitate the world's only L-1011 flying hospital, which has been parked for nearly a year, but is now undergoing maintenance checks in Tucson, Arizona. The Aruba-registered aircraft was previously operated by a US humanitarian organisation that was unable to continue funding the aircraft's operation.

GFH chief executive and founder Neill Newton plans to ferry the aircraft within the next two months to Global City, Cambodia, a new 55,000Ha (136,000 acre) free trade zone about 90km (56 miles) outside Phnom Penh. The autonomous free trade zone hosts a hospital and an abandoned airport built by the Chinese in the Khmer Rouge era.

GFH was founded two years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, where it still has a fund-raising centre. But the organisation decided to move to South-East Asia, establishing a regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to be closer to more developing countries.

GFH and its staff of volunteers will primarily provide medical treatment on the ground as part of pre-arranged tours, but it will also ferry patients to Global City and participate in disaster relief missions as needed. The L-1011 is equipped with two surgical stations, 12 pre-operation beds, 12 post-operation beds and 50 seats. GFH plans to begin adding the first of several L-100s later this year, to be used as small flying hospitals throughout the world, as well as freighters to transport medical supplies.

Source: Flight International