A new multi-function aeromedical base at Brisbane Airport has been approved and will open in 2024.

Royal Flying Doctor Service PC-24 Medevac Mission
Photo: Pilatus Aircraft Limited

Located in the capital city of Queensland, Brisbane Airport is a major gateway and hub for domestic and international travelers. In pre-COVID 2019 it handled 23.8 million passengers, and in 2022 processed 17.2 million, reaching 72% of pre-pandemic levels.

Brisbane Airport (BNE) is also an important hub for Queensland’s exporters to move goods, particularly fresh seafood, meat and other produce, to markets across Asia and beyond. Yesterday it highlighted another important role it plays in Queensland: as a home for many of the state’s emergency medical services.


Photo: Brisbane Airport Corporation

The Australian federal government has given approval for the construction of the Queensland Regional Aeromedical Base at Brisbane Airport. Illustrating the importance of speed in medical emergencies, the base will be sited between the airport’s two runways, giving direct access to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), LifeFlight and Queensland Health.

Aeromedical base for patient transfers

At the cost of AU$72 million ($47.9 million), the base will connect patients from around the state to major hospitals and life-saving medical treatment. It will have patient transfer facilities to care for people as they transition between fixed-wing and rotary aircraft to ambulances or transfer vehicles.

Brisbane Airport BNE Aeromedical Base (1)

Render: Brisbane Airport 

The 14,470m² (150,700 square feet) facility will have hangars to house the fleets of aircraft and helicopters used by the service providers, administration areas and a medical base for regional patients and donor transfers. Brisbane Airport Corporation executive general manager commercial Martin Ryan said:

“Brisbane Airport plays an essential role in the 24/7 connection of Queensland to urgent medical care. The Aeromedical Base will bring all providers together into one innovative world-class hub, with a transfer facility providing patients on the move with the very best clinical care possible.”

Royal Flying Doctor Service

The facility is expected to assist more than 5,000 patients a year as they are looked after by the three providers based at the center. Much of the work done by the Royal Flying Doctor Service focuses on helping patients in rural and remote areas, often involving an air transfer to the specialist medical facilities in Brisbane.

Brisbane Airport BNE Aeromedical Base (2)

Render: Brisbane Airport

To do that more effectively, the base will have a short-stay bay with 12 beds allowing for overnight stays prior to transfer when needed. The dedicated patient transfer area means patients can be moved comfortably on and off aeromedical aircraft out of the elements in a world-class clinical environment.

The RFDS uses five different aircraft types Australia-wide and has a fleet of 79 fixed-wing aircraft and two Airbus EC-145 helicopters. The core of the fleet is the King Air B200C, supported by the King Air B300C and the BB360. The other core aircraft is the Pilatus PC-12 turboprop, and the jet power is supplied by the Pilatus PC-24 aircraft.

Brisbane Airport BNE Aeromedical Base (7)

Render: Brisbane Airport

LifeFlight is a major aeromedical operator in Queensland and has a fleet of 10 rescue helicopters, supported by four Bombardier Challenger 604 jets on standby from various locations. At the BNE base, LifeFlight will have two aeromedical Leonardo AW139 helicopters and two Challenger 604 jets housed in the new purpose-built hangars. It has eight bases in Queensland, where the balance of the helicopters operate from.

Now that approval has been granted, Brisbane Airport said it would call for tenders within the next two weeks and that the base is expected to open in 2024.

Source: simpleflying.com

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