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World's First Multiple Patient Covid-19 Intensive Care Evacuation

On 4 March, International SOS coordinated a highly complex evacuation of four ICU patients, repatriating the individuals from La Réunion island to Paris.

The operation was commissioned by the French Ministry of Health and carried out in collaboration with the SAMU, the emergency medical services in France, the Regional Health Agency, Air Austral and Aéroports de Paris. This is the first time that so many ICU COVID-19 patients have been transported simultaneously on such a long-haul flight.

“Transporting one or two seriously ill patients is part of everyday life. This particular situation was highly unique and even more complex, with all four patients in an unconscious and intubated-ventilated condition. Medical evacuations, particularly during the pandemic, are complex but this was even more so, requiring an even greater level of care and coordination. We were honoured to be called on for our expertise and proud to be part of the team that was able to transport the patients safely“, explained Dr Arnaud Derossi, Regional Medical Director at International SOS.

Evacuation details

The chartered Air Austral Boeing 787 took off from Réunion Island at 9:33 p.m. local time (6:33 p.m. Paris time) and landed at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport on Friday 5 March 2021 at 5:15am local time, after an eleven-hour flight. A civil aviation exemption had been necessary to allow Air Austral to embark so many patients on stretchers and such a high volume of oxygen.

The mission was staffed by the SAMU from Paris and La Réunion, with 5 ICU doctors, 5 ICU nurses, 7 EMTs and 1 logistician, while International SOS provided a flight nurse and a logistics expert for supporting the various teams and interfacing with the aircraft crew and the International SOS Paris assistance centre.

The International SOS Assistance Centre’s role was to interface with the various SAMUs, the airport and the aircraft, under supervision by the Health Ministry crisis centre, planning for and managing all requirements. Also, a critical aspect was to be able to quickly react in case of the aircraft diversion due to a technical incident, in order to prepare ground support for the patients. Due to the severity of the disease, advanced equipment was loaded and installed on the aircraft such as portable blood analysers, ultrasound machine and 2 ECMO machines (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), as well as backup ventilators. This represented one ton of medical equipment, along with 9,500 litres of oxygen for each patient.



Universal Air Evac Acquire And Implement A Portable Negative Pressure Isolation Unit

Universal Air Evac is pleased to announce the expansion of our capabilities in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic through the acquisition and implementation of a portable negative pressure isolation unit.

This allows us to transport most infectious patients while maintaining the safety of our crew, providers and patients at the forefront of our operational priorities. The portable isolation unit allows for the rapid setup of a biologically isolated area from the environment outside of the chamber allowing our crew to continue providing emergency medical transport while maintaining maximum protection.

Other measures implemented to ensure the highest levels of safety include:

  • Comprehensive screening and ongoing monitoring of all our crew;

  • Quarantining of crew between duty periods;

  • Pre-flight patient screening and assessment before departure from home base;

  • Vaporized disinfection of aircraft interiors and equipment in addition to our standard cleaning procedures.

Medical evacuation of patients across borders has become extremely complicated due to varying restrictions imposed by governments in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Universal Air Evac remains available to assist you with these movements and encourage you to make contact that we help you navigate through the challenges of moving your patient or insured to an upgraded level of care.

For further information please visit:



COVID-19: Air Alliance Launches Modern Isolation Transport Unit “EpiShuttle”

Air Alliance has announced that they have added another important component to their medical competence spectrum. After thorough crew training, their state-of-the-art transport insulation system "EpiShuttle" is now ready for take off!

Air Alliance Medical director Dr. Gert Muurling explains what it is all about.

When are isolation units used in ambulance flights?

In principle, most infectious patients can be easily transported if there is sufficient distance. However, this distance does not exist in most ambulance aircraft. In addition, the forward ventilation would endanger the pilots in smaller jets. If they also had to put on protective clothing with a mask, communication with the air traffic controllers would only be possible to a limited extent. To avoid these problems, we have purchased an isolation unit (EpiShuttle). This enables us to transport any infectious patient - including CoVID-19 patients and even patients with hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola. The protective clothing is for our crews is only required when loading and unloading the patient.

What is the EpiShuttle and what are its advantages?

EpiShuttle is a modular, reusable insulation system. The system was developed by anesthesiologists / intensive care physicians from the University Hospital of Oslo for the transport of high-risk operations and of patients with multi-resistant pathogens. The EpiShuttle offers significantly more comfort for patients than other systems on the market thanks to a more spacious interior, more distance for the patient from the hard plastic hood, multi-adjustable stretcher and more width. The system can also be used on long-haul routes.

For us clinicians, other features are of course crucial: the perfect assessment of the patient through the hood, the built-in sealing membrane openings for cables and lines as well as a separate access for the ventilation system make treatment and monitoring of the patient from the outside possible. Disinfection is also straightforward.

In case of infectious patients, the system works with negative pressure: air is sucked in through a filter system at the head end and blown off via filter at the foot end. Conversely, you can also work with overpressure to protect immunosuppressed patients.

What is the maximum number of contagious patients that can be transported on one flight?

In general, infectious patients with different pathogens should not be transported together. However, for the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is primarily one and the same virus. This defuses the situation. If patients are located in different isolation units, there is no danger. This way, we can safely transport two infection patients in the same jet with two isolation units on our Challenger 604.

Are companions allowed on EpiShuttle flights?

From the space available in the Challenger 604, it would be possible to take one or two companions along. However, one has to assume that accompanying persons on site also had closer contact with the patient and could therefore themselves be contaminated. Therefore, I consider it critical to take family members on such flights because they pose a risk to our staff. Here we decide in individual cases.

For any further and general info, please get in contact with Eva Kluge (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Jane Topliss (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

24/7 Kontakt:
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Telefon: +49 2736 4428 45


UCXtra MedJet to Revolutionise Fixed Wing Medical Air Transport

iPMI Magazine Air Ambulance Owner, Operator and Broker Services News: UCXtra MedJet is preparing to launch into the market of worldwide medical air transport (fixed-wing) with state of the art medical equipment, highly skilled ICU personnel, and the fastest fleet of jets in the industry.  

The rapidly evolving frontier of travel apps, language translation services on phones, and social connections being made between people across the globe, have given rise to a new generation of worldwide travelers. In fact, according to a study conducted by Visa, international travel will increase by 35% over the next decade. The study, developed in conjunction with Oxford Economics, analyses billions of Visa transactions to identify spending patterns across major purchases, and in regions, countries and major cities.

While planning a vacation, most people think about what might happen if there is an unforeseen medical emergency, but most don’t have plans in place if this were to occur. They are left to rely upon local health providers to make arrangements and decisions for them in regards to transport in emergency situations. This can cause significant stress and anxiety on both the injured/ill traveler, and their travel companions.

UCXtra MedJet is prepared and ready to assist all patients in a medical crisis requiring air transport. Their fleet of Cessna Citation X jets are the most advanced and capable aircraft in the industry. The Citation X has an airspeed of nearly 600 miles per hour, and a range of more than 3,400 miles. This is far beyond the capabilities of any other aircraft in the medical air transport service industry. Combine these attributes, with the fact that the Citation X is the pinnacle of luxury when it comes to private aircraft, and it’s clear that UCXtra MedJet is making a strong statement regarding their entry to market – they are here to drive the medical air transport industry into the future.

Meet the people of UCXtra MedJet that are driving advancement in the medical air transport industry. They will be launching UCXtra MedJet at ITIC Americas – Austin, TX Feb. 26th-28th.


Video: Medic Air Teams Evacuates Belgian Traveller From Ho Chi Minh City To Brussels

Medic Air has evacuated a Belgian traveler with heart failure and septic shock from Ho Chi Minh City to Brussels by air ambulance on a local physicians' request.

The mission was performed last week with a twin team of four medical attendants, intensive care team and cardiovascular surgeon. During the 18 hour flight the patient benefited from Extra Corporal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), close monitoring with ultrasound and blood analyzer on board, French Lyophilized Plasma (PLYO), inotropic support and mechanical ventilation.

The twin team cohesion and logistic organization by Medic Air Ops desks in Shanghai and Paris follow the High Reliability Organization (HRO) appliance for all missions to guaranty the mindfulness of each act, expert in their daily professional practice. The evacuation was complex but completed smoothly and was uneventful.

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