Babcock inks 11-aircraft Textron Aviation order

Babcock Scandinavian Air Ambulance (SAA) has signed an order with Textron Aviation for 10 Beechcraft King Air 250 twin-engined turboprops and a Cessna Citation Latitude business jet, all to be configured for air ambulance missions.

The commitment is in support of the operator's six-year contract with the Norwegian government to provide aero-medical services on behalf of the country’s air ambulance service. The aircraft will be delivered over the next 18 months.

Babcock secured the contract with Norway in July, two years after entering the Scandinavian market through its acquisition of SAA. Services are scheduled to begin in 2019, once the inventory has been outfitted, the company says

The order marks the introduction of the Latitude in the air ambulance market, and comes on the heels of the 100th delivery of the midsize twinjet, which entered service in 2015.

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Bob Gibbs, Textron Aviation’s vice-president of special mission aircraft, says the Latitude has experienced “tremendous success in the commercial segment” and the company is now seeking to “expand upon its robust capabilities in the special missions market”.

The Latitude’s steep-approach capability, short-runway performance and low cabin altitude “will be essential to support Babcock’s air ambulance missions in communities across Norway”, says Gibbs. The Latitude will also have a modified door to accommodate wide medical stretchers.

SAA’s King Airs will also feature steep-approach capability, will be equipped to operate in polar regions and have CAT II capability for operations in reduced visibility, says Textron.

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