The South Pacific's Premier Air Ambulance Operator

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Aeromed Pacific

GCH Aviation holds the highest level of aviation medical accreditation and has long standing contracts with the Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora, Accident Compensation Corporation, and the New Zealand Government with the National Air Ambulance Service funding programme.

GCH Aviation is ISO 9001 and NZS 8756 certified for Ambulance and Paramedical Services and has another aviation base in Nadi, Fiji. The connectivity this provides patients who require medical attention and evacuation is unparalleled in New Zealand and across the South Pacific.

AeroMed Pacific provides a medical air transport service throughout the South Pacific, staffed with highly qualified clinical crew. The service is available 24 hours/365 days per year.

Our specialised retrieval team can arrange an air ambulance, medivac, or medical transportation service for patients and their family, medical care providers and insurance companies.

Medical Evacuations

GCH Aviation offer full AeroMed services from Air Rescue helicopters and Fixed wing aircraft based in Greymouth, Nelson and Christchurch in New Zealand. Our base in Nadi, Fiji offers helicopter evacuations from remote islands and patients can be seamlessly transferred directly to our AeroMed Challenger 604 jet for medical evacuations to anywhere in the world.

We offer 24/7 phone access to our medical evacuation logistics personnel. GCH Aviation operates state of the art flight tracking and scheduling software for coordinating our NZ Flying Doctors, Air Rescue and AeroMed fleet.

Our logistics personnel will make all the necessary arrangements for international medical travel with our Challenger 604 AeroMed Jet. These may include working with Foreign Embassies, Border authorities, Homeland Security or equivalent in any country.

Our AeroMed team will arrange the necessary travel documentation that makes any medical evacuation seamless and efficient.

Features of our services include:

Challenger 604
Dedicated ambulance jet
Challenger Jet
Fitted wheelchair and stretcher hoist
Paediatric & new-born transport
Experienced Team
Experienced aeromedical intensive care and emergency clinical team
Medical Stretcher
Purpose built spectrum medical stretcher
South Pacific Base
South Pacific base in Fiji equipped for medical transfers
Case Manager
Personalised case manager
Highly experienced and credentialed flight crew
Integrated Services
Integrated aeromedical services – NZ Flying Doctors Service and Rescue Helicopters
Support People
Repatriation of family members or support people with the patient

Bombardier Challenger 604 Medical Jet

The Challenger 604 has a 4,000 nm range and travels at speeds of up to 1,000 km/h.

The Challenger is the only jet in New Zealand with a fully fitted wheelchair hoist making the loading and unloading of patients safe and easy for both the patient and clinical team.

The wheelchair hoist makes loading a stretcher bound patient a seamless process. The jet is equipped with a spectrum stretcher kit, ready to be installed if the patient requires a high level of care.

This 10-seater jet is the first of its type in New Zealand and has a global range, easily accessing the east coast of Australia, Southeast Asia and the near Pacific Islands as well as most domestic airports in New Zealand.

Clinical Equipment & Capabilities

The GCH Aviation clinical team are equipped with the following during aeromedical retrieval and transport:

CAA certified custom Spectrum Aeromedical patient transfer stretcher with inbuilt medical wall and monitor platforms to provide continuous and immediate access to the patient.

A medical oxygen system with the capacity to transport a critical care level ventilated patient from transport origin to destination with a minimum of 25% reserve independent of refilling/resupply.

High-performance critical care equipment and monitoring with current electrical and CAA compliance. Our teams use the Zoll X series physiological monitor defibrillator and Hamilton TI ventilator during transport. Our teams routinely use point of care ultrasound for diagnostics and procedures including cardiac ECHO with Sonosite iViz.

Our Medical Training Requirements

Clinical Lead

Our teams work under the clinical supervision of the ground-based specialist medical doctor. The Clinical Leads have extensive aeromedical knowledge and experience and provide logistical and clinical support to planning the transport then clinical oversight and support to the team by satellite phone as required during every stage of the mission.

Flight Doctor

All retrieval and transport doctors hold Australasian specialist medical qualifications in Intensive Care Medicine, Anaesthesia or Emergency Medicine and work concurrently within their medical specialty. The flight doctors all hold current registration with the New Zealand Medical Council and have aeromedical qualifications or equivalent training and experience. Our flight doctors are experienced with specialty patient transport for neonatal, paediatric, neurosurgical, multi-trauma and obstetric transfers.

Flight Nurse

Our flight nurses all have critical care nursing qualifications and hold senior roles within a large tertiary Intensive Care Unit. The flight nurses all hold current registration with the New Zealand Nursing Council and membership with the New Zealand Flight Nurses Association and provide a wealth of aeromedical experience for all specialty transfers.

Flight Paramedic

The critical care flight paramedics hold Intensive Care Paramedic (advanced paramedic) qualifications and current Australasian Paramedic Council (AHPRA) registration. The flight paramedics hold qualifications in aeromedical retrieval and transport or equivalent training and experience), and their experience base includes extensive air ambulance pre-hospital and inter-facility missions.

Meet Our Medical Team

Dr Katherine Townend
Medical Director

Medical Director: Dr Katherine Townend FCICM FANZCA PGDipAeroRT (Dist) MBChB BSc (Neuroscience)

Dr Katherine Townend is the Medical Director for GCH Aviation. She is a dual trained specialist in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine with postgraduate qualifications in aeromedical retrieval and transport. Katherine provides clinical oversight for the extensive aeromedical operations under GCH Aviation, works as an intensive care specialist doctor in the large tertiary intensive care unit in Christchurch Hospital and is also one of the critical care doctors who flies as part of the GCH Aviation transport team.

Flight Nurse Supervisor: Garry Robinson RN, DipN, BHSc (N), ICU Cert, PGCertAvN

Garry has 22 years of international aviation flight nurse experience with various aviation aeromedical operations around the world including Antarctica for medical evacuations. Garry is the past Chair of COASTN, (College of Air & Surface Transport Nurses) formerly Flight Nurses New Zealand as well as on the Australian medical association board for three years. Garry has worked for 22 years in the intensive care unit at Christchurch Public Hospital as Associate Clinical Nurse Manager and has been part of the NZ Flying Doctor Service at GCH Aviation through the DHB for the past 22 years.

Garry brings a wealth of aeromedical practical nursing experience to his role with GCH Aviation AeroMed Pacific.

Garry Robinson
Flight Nurse Supervisor

Our Range of Medical Operations

GCH Aviation has built a proud reputation as the home of the South Island Westpac Rescue Helicopter service, Greymouth and Nelson Marlborough Air Rescue Services and the New Zealand Flying Doctor Service.

Founder John Currie created one of the first Air Rescue Trusts in conjunction with St Johns, NZ Police and Garden City Helicopters in 1984.

The GCH Aviation Air Rescue operation has five rescue helicopters located in Christchurch, Greymouth and Nelson and completes an average of 1600 missions per year across our network.

The New Zealand Flying Doctor Service is a flying intensive care unit started in 1995. Fully equipped to care for unwell patients while they make the journey from one hospital to their destination hospital to receive specialist treatment or a higher level of care. The service operates 4 Beechcraft King Air Twin Turbine prop planes and completes over 2,200 missions per year across New Zealand including to and from the Chatham Islands. The NZFDS service is primarily based at the GCH Aviation Head Quarters in Christchurch with a satellite base in Nelson.

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About Us

Aeromed Pacific is a division of the GCH Aviation group, a New Zealand family owned and operated aviation business

The GCH Aviation head offfice is based at the Christchurch international Airport.  GCH Aviation has been operating Air Rescue Helicoptters and the NZ Flying Doctor Air Ambulance service since 1987.

GCH Aviation has 40+ years of aviaition experience in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Andrew Currie
Andrew Currie
CEO Jet Operations GCH Aviation - Part 125

CEO Jet Operations GCH Aviation – Part 125

Andrew Currie  

Andrew Currie plays a significant part of the family business that is the GCH Aviation group of companies.  As CEO of Jet Operations, Andrew oversees all Jet operations under CAA Part 125.  He has a high level of understanding of the CAA rules and regulations and is a highly experienced pilot.  Before taking over as CEO of Jet Operations Andrew was the operations manager and pilot for the NZ Flying Doctor Service before moving into jet operations as the companies aeromedical portfolio expanded.