Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) has confirmed Aberdeen will be the location for its second helicopter base.
The Perth-based charity is on a fundraising drive to raise the £6 million needed for another emergency service aircraft, which it hopes to launch by the end of next year.
The strengthened SCAA fleet will continue to work alongside the two government-funded helicopters based in Glasgow and Inverness.
It is hoped this will improve response times in life-saving rescues.
SCAA bosses said the Granite City was recommended as the base for the new Helimed 79 by the Scottish Ambulance Service.
SCAA founding chairman John Bullough said: “Aberdeen will house one of Scotland’s four major trauma centres in the future Scottish Trauma Network and it makes sense for Helimed 79 to add its considerable capability to that growing hub of emergency medicinal resources.
“SCAA is frequently tasked to emergencies in the north-east and having an air ambulance based there will optimise the coverage and resilience of the country’s entire emergency air response.
“With a second helicopter air ambulance service, SCAA will further positively impact on the outcome for patients – ultimately saving and improving hundreds more lives every year.”
SCAA’s current helicopter operates from Perth Airport in Scone and is entirely funded by donations.
Attention has now been turned to raising the £6 million needed for the new aircraft, as well as funding call outs.
Chief executive David Craig said: “The charity is currently in talks with existing and potential major donors to help us secure the £6 million required to launch and sustain a second helicopter for its first three years with a view to going operational as soon as financially viable – hopefully by late 2019.”
Aberdeen was unanimously agreed by SCAA board members as the home of the second helicopter but it is not yet known where in the city the helicopter will be based.
The announcement was welcomed by Jeane Freeman, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for health and sport.
She said: “SCAA carries out great work across Scotland, helping to save and improve lives every day and a second helicopter will make a huge difference.
“It is crucial that we ensure the most severely injured patients have the best chance of a speedy recovery from their injuries.
“Last month I had the honour of opening Scotland’s first major trauma centre in Aberdeen which will treat the most seriously injured patients in the north of Scotland. “This second air ambulance will build capacity to support this, significantly contributing to our growing hub of resources in that area.”