Air rescue company Northern HeliCopter sold


German air rescue operator Northern HeliCopter (NHC) has been sold to DRF Luftrettung, the onshore EMS operator with 31 bases across Germany and Austria, including 10 operated on a 24×7 basis. The transaction has been completed retrospectively and officially took effect on 1st January

NHC will continue to be a separate operation, but will leverage the synergies provided by its new parent company in order to reduce its cost base. NHC specialises in ambulance flights, offshore rescue and wind farm support, with bases in the North and Baltic Sea region, on the eastern and northern Frisian islands and on the Hallig islands.

“It is important for us to use synergies in order to provide patients who need our help with professional and best-in-class medical care and sustainably secure the important contribution of Northern HeliCopter to the well-being of the people living in the coastal area. Furthermore, the takeover expands our competences and service portfolio, adding further fields of expertise in the area of offshore rescue and the deployment of ambulance helicopters,” says Dr. Peter Huber, Chairman of DRF Luftrettung and new accountable manager of NHC. The other directors of NHC are Christian Müller-Ramcke and Armin Ortmann.

“Both air rescuers will benefit from the synergies,” says Armin Ortmann. “Even as a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRF Luftrettung, NHC will be able to retain its flexibility. At the same time, we are now in a position to align our services even more consistently and focus on the specific needs of the coastal region in offshore, air and water rescue,” adds Christian Müller-Ramcke, explaining the advantages of the takeover for NHC.

NHC has steadily expanded its market position in recent years. In 2014, the company opened a base at St Peter-Ording, 140km northwest of Hamburg, for the wind farms in the North Sea. Four years later NHC added another base on the island of Rügen after winning a six year contract in support of the Wikinger offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea. In 2011, NHC was the first private company to introduce rescue flights in the German Bight: 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. With the introduction of the integrated offshore rescue concept WINDEAcare, NHC, together with its cooperation partners in emergency medicine and more recently also with its partners specializing in firefighting, has established itself as the market leader in this sector. NHC’s six helicopters are staffed with a total of 22 pilots, 19 emergency doctors and 17 paramedics.

DRF Luftrettung has nearly 50 years of air rescue experience. The organisation has performed over 900,000 missions, and currently deploys 570 emergency doctors, 170 pilots and 120 paramedics.

Jeremy Parkin