Mercy Flight announces acquisition of 3 new helicopters
Press Release, Mercy Flight
It is with great enthusiasm that Mercy Flight Inc. announces a major EMS helicopter acquisition: three new 2017 Bell 429 helicopters. This significant fleet upgrade will help sustain Mercy Flight’s commitment to bringing expert and unparalleled medical care with rapid response for many years to come.
In late October 2017, Mercy Flight signed a Purchase Agreement and placed a deposit with Bell Helicopter for the new helicopters. This opportunity was made possible through a combined $23 million long-term lending effort from the USDA Rural Development Department and M&T Bank. These joint 20-year loans from the USDA and M&T Bank create an affordable option that will allow Mercy Flight to replace its four aging 1980s model BK-117 helicopters. The helicopters are slated to be completed and delivered ready for EMS operations in the late Spring of 2018.
“These Bell 429s will represent a significant step in our goal to remain Western New York’s independent, nonprofit provider of emergency air medical services for many years to come,” said Mercy Flight’s Founding President and CEO Douglas Baker. “Our current BK-117 helicopters have been pillars of our operation for a number of years, but this creative financing opportunity provided to us by the USDA’s Rural Development team and M&T Bank will allow us to retire these aging aircraft and replace them with more reliable, modern equipment.”
“USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities program is designed to assist nonprofit organizations just like Mercy Flight – with equipment like this,” said USDA Rural Development Loan Technician Sandra Snyder. “This funding builds on the USDA’s continued investment and commitment in rural communities throughout New York. While the added features, expanded service range, increased speed and state of the art capabilities of these new and dependable airframes are impressive, we at Rural Development in NY also believe the pilots, emergency technicians, dispatchers and ground teams are equally impressive.”
In 2010, Mercy Flight similarly collaborated with the USDA and M&T Bank for joint loans for the organization’s first Bell 429 helicopter. This aircraft has since proven its merit, as has Bell Helicopter’s customer service. Mercy Flight is looking forward to performing its lifesaving, nonprofit mission while flying exclusively Bell 429 helicopters.
“Mercy Flight’s decision to upgrade their existing fleet to all Bell 429’s reflects both the tremendous capabilities of the aircraft and the unrivaled support Bell Helicopter is known for,” said Ron Orndoff, Bell Helicopter Regional Sales Manager. “Their fleet of four aircraft will bring the total to 21 Bell 429’s operating in the Northeast U.S., representing every mission segment.”
Mercy Flight serves the Western New York Community and beyond with its fleet of five helicopters, twenty ambulances, six paramedic fly cars, and exclusive use of a dedicated Learjet to transport patients in need nationwide. Since 1981, Mercy Flight has safely completed more than 27,000 patient missions, including scene emergencies and inter-hospital transfers.