Kent, Surrey and Sussex air ambulances to fly from new base
An air ambulance trust serving the south east of England is to invest £10m in relocating its flying base.
The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust (KSSAAT) will operate out of a single base near Paddock Wood, replacing two at Redhill and Marden.
The Old Hay Airfield will allow pilots to reach emergency incidents anywhere in the south east within 25 minutes, the trust said.
One of the older helicopters is also being upgraded.
Central operating base
KSSAAT chief executive, Adrian Bell, said the new airfield in Kent, which will also provide space for a helipad, hangar and control room, represented a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the trust to establish a “resilient and sustainable base”.
The trust, which relies almost entirely on donations, said the move to one central operating base was considered vital to securing the future of the life-saving service.
Almost 2,000 people are treated every year by the specialist doctors and critical care paramedics.
KSSAAT hopes to have planning permission to begin using the new site by the spring of 2016 and to be operating flights from the end of 2017.
The project has received a £1.5m government grant, with the rest of the money raised through donations.