Suffolk: Air ambulance’s contract cancelled

EAST ANGLIA: The East Anglian Air Ambulance is looking for a new operator after ending its arrangement with a struggling aviation firm.

The charity-backed emergency service, which uses two helicopters to cover four counties, has terminated its contract with Norwich Airport-based Sterling Aviation with immediate effect.

Steve Whitby, deputy chief executive of the EAAA, said that although the situation with Sterling was “regrettable” – the company temporarily suspended its operations last month – the service would continue to operate to “the highest standards possible”.

Mr Whitby insisted it was “business as usual” despite the sudden end of the contract.

He said: “Our first concern is, and always has been, the people of East Anglia and our priority is to make sure the people of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk are well-served by a high quality air ambulance.

“So, whilst we begin the process of finding a new permanent aircraft operator, it is very much business as usual for us.”

Mr Whitby said the EAAA’s two helicopters would continue to provide the same life-saving service to the region.

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Last night a Sterling Aviation spokeswoman said: “Sterling Helicopters regrets that on Friday afternoon February 18 2011 it had to suspend temporarily its operations.

“Sterling Helicopters is working with the Civil Aviation Authority and its customers to resume normal services as soon as possible.”