Air Ambulance FAQs

Read your frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our air ambulance and repatriation process answered by our medical experts.

An air ambulance is an aircraft or helicopter equipped with a stretcher system and advanced medical equipment. Air ambulances are used to transport critically ill or injured patients who are unable to travel safely on a commercial aircraft. Air ambulances are staffed by specialist medical personnel who provide all necessary medical care for the duration of the transfer – inflight and on the ground. View our guide “Your medical repatriation options explained” for more details.

Air ambulances are used in both emergency and non-emergency situations. Our medical experts will carry out a comprehensive assessment of your condition to help us recommend the best option for you.

There are many factors that determine how quickly an aircraft can be dispatched: aircraft and crew availability; overflight and landing permissions; passport and visa requirements and whether a specialist bed is available at the receiving hospital. Most air ambulance transfers can be scheduled to take place within 24 hours of the go-ahead being given.

Patient transfers on board scheduled flights take longer to arrange because we have to secure medical clearance with the airline and book outbound flights for the accompanying doctor or nurse. However scheduled airline transfers can usually take place within a few days of Healix receiving instructions.

For urgent transfers, our 24/7 air ambulance hotline is staffed by a dedicated team of critical care medical professionals who can begin making appropriate arrangements right away.

Healix International boasts an impressive network of accredited, strategically located air ambulance providers who can service every country in the world.

Please ring our 24 hour emergency hotline on +44 (0)20 8481 7735 or email us at and one of our experienced critical care nurses will walk you through the process. We will discuss your current situation and ask appropriate questions in order to determine the best repatriation plan. You will be given the opportunity to ask any questions and address any concerns you may have. Once a patient transfer proposal has been agreed, we will make all the necessary arrangements and keep you informed every step of the way.

There may be capacity on board for one travel companion to accompany you during the flight, providing the circumstances permit. The final decision always rests with the medical crew on board the air ambulance.

Space on board an air ambulance is typically limited due to the amount of medical equipment that is required. Any baggage allowance will depend on the number of the people travelling on board and aircraft restrictions. We will arrange to courier any luggage that cannot be accommodated on the air ambulance.

Our specialist medical knowledge and experience in dealing with emergency medical cases abroad not only guarantees that you get the most appropriate emergency medical treatment, it enables us to manage your situation in the most cost effective way without compromising on care. There are a multitude of different elements that will influence the cost of an air ambulance and we always do our utmost to ensure that costs are never unnecessarily inflated.

Factors influencing the cost include:

  • Distance to be covered by the air ambulance
  • Type of aircraft required
  • Specialist medical staff required
  • Regulations and procedures
  • Number of companions wishing to travel.