Ontario to expand Ornge’s new Pilatus fleet, grow Sudbury base
November 8, 2023 By Helicopters Staff
The Government of Ontario is investing more than $108 million to expand Ornge Air Ambulance’s fixed wing fleet with four additional planes and to replace its existing eight fixed wing fleet. The new fleet will consist of 12 new Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft, all carrying a livery that is in line with Ornge’s fleet of AW139 helicopters. Pilatus plans to deliver the fleet between 2025 and 2030.
Ornge has been operating its current fleet of PC-12s since 2009. “The Pilatus PC-12 has played a significant role in Ontario’s air ambulance program for many years,” said Dr. Homer Tien, President and CEO of Ornge. “Its performance, versatility and reliability have helped us deliver high quality care in transport across the province, including many remote Indigenous communities in the north.”
The new investment, explains the Government of Ontario, will ensure Ornge’s air ambulance service can continue to provide Ontarians, especially those living in rural and remote communities, with consistent access to high-quality, urgent care. As part of the investment, Ontario is also providing nearly $10 million to transition Ornge’s Sudbury base to a larger hangar which will be able to house both fixed and rotor wing assets.
“Our government recognizes the important role Ornge plays in providing patients with timely access to care, no matter where they live in Ontario,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
Ontario in December 2022 began the process to procure eight of the PC-12 NG aircraft to replace its existing ageing fleet. Adding four additional fixed wing aircraft to the current fleet, explains the government, will ensure Ontarians have access to safe, reliable, and rapid air ambulance services now and in the future. Once the new 12-plane fleet is ready, Ornge will be able to add two fully staffed, 24/7 air ambulance crews to further connect people in the region in need of rapid emergency care.
In addition to updating and expanding Ornge’s fleet of aircraft, Ontario is providing Ornge with nearly $10 million to move from their existing Sudbury base to a larger hangar in the city that can house both their helicopter and expanded fixed wing services in one base. This new hangar will help to better coordinate emergency care in the north.
“This is a transformative investment in Ontario’s air ambulance and critical care transport program,” said Tien, President and CEO of Ornge. “With a new 24/7 fixed wing air ambulance crew based in Northeastern Ontario and additional aircraft added to our fleet, we will be able to bring high quality care in transport to more patients with enhanced reliability.”
Ornge’s Operations Control Centre, located in Mississauga, coordinates all logistics related to Ornge medical transports operating out of 14 bases across Ontario. Ornge serves more than 13 million people in an area spanning over one million square kilometers. Operating the largest air ambulance and critical care land ambulance fleet in Canada, Ornge performs approximately 20,000 patient-related transports per year.
“We are very pleased that Ornge has elected to continue the excellent long-term partnership with Pilatus in this upgrade to its fleet,” said Thomas Bosshard, President and CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd. “We take great pride in being able to support the health care system of Ontario’s citizens.”
The global fleet of more than 2,000 PC-12 aircraft are used in a wide range of missions, including air ambulance, special missions, private and corporate transport, fractional and charter operations.