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Northern Rescue Helicopter To Upgrade Fleet

The pending addition of two Leonardo AW169 helicopters to Northern Rescue Helicopter Limited’s fleet is a step closer.

The Milestone Aviation Group Limited (“Milestone”), the global leader in helicopter leasing, has signed lease agreements with Northern Rescue for the two Leonardo AW169 helicopters.

The helicopters will be delivered over the next nine months and will operate critical air ambulance missions from Northern Rescue’s bases across the greater Auckland and Northland regions. The two AW169 helicopters are fitted with state-of-the-art medical equipment in large, easy-to-reconfigure cabins, allowing clinical teams to deliver lifesaving care to patients.

Northern Rescue is a joint venture between the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and the Northland Emergency Services Trust, and is the contracted provider to Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora and ACC for emergency air ambulance helicopter services in the northern region of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Northern Rescue CEO Ian MacPherson (centre) signing the lease agreements with the Milestone Aviation Group Limited (“Milestone”), the two Leonardo AW169 helicopters. (Photo supplied)

Northern Rescue provides clinical services and emergency air ambulance transport to the 1.85 million people living in an area stretching from the Coromandel Peninsula to Cape Reinga in the Far North.

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Ian MacPherson, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Rescue says leasing the two aircraft from Milestone marks a significant step towards updating and standardising the fleet of EMS/SAR aircraft across Auckland and Northland.

“The addition of these two aircraft will bring the total to four AW169s which will be used by our Northern Rescue crews across Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Tai Tokerau,” says MacPherson.

“Continuing to operate a state-of-the-art fleet will ensure our communities will continue to receive the highest level of care and service possible.

“Northern Rescue acknowledges that this deal would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the Crown funders, Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora and the Accident Compensation Corporation, together with our two Trusts (Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and Northland Emergency Services Trust) – not to mention the public of Auckland and Northland for their unwavering support over three decades.

“We are also grateful that Milestone has identified the opportunity to enhance the New Zealand EMS sector, and we look forward to working closely with them into the future.”

By September 2025, Northern Rescue plans to have four AW169s and one Sikorsky S76 in service across both bases.

“At that time, the BK117 at Ardmore and one of the S76s in Whangārei will be retired. The last remaining S76 in Whangārei will be retired once we’ve sourced another AW169,” says MacPherson.

Sébastien Moulin, Chief Commercial Officer, Milestone Aviation is pleased to be working with Northern Rescue.

“We are delighted to welcome Northern Rescue as a new customer to Milestone and place our first aircraft in New Zealand. The AW169 is well suited to support Northern Rescue’s fleet renewal programme as it is configured to place patient needs at the heart of its design,” says Moulin.

“We thank Ian MacPherson and the Northern Rescue team for the confidence they have placed in Milestone, and we look forward to working together as we deliver these aircraft.”

© Scoop Media

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