Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) has doubled its life-saving capability with the launch of a new emergency response helicopter.

The new air ambulance is the second aircraft that the charity will operate to offer its vital services during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The new Helimed 79 service will operate from an additional base at Aberdeen International Airport.

SCAA founding chairman John Bullough said: “There’s never been a more crucial time for additional emergency pre-hospital care resources in Scotland and SCAA is proud to be able to strengthen the country’s air ambulance fleet.

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“Within seven years, this relatively young charity has been able to sustain one helicopter and then fund a second which is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved – not least the public, whose generous support funds our entire life-saving service.

“During these difficult times, the demands on frontline emergency services have never been greater and we hope the public will continue to support us – ensuring that, with the launch of Helimed 79, we can fly more care, more quickly, to more people wherever the need arises in Scotland.”

The newly launched aircraft has already completed a mission just hours after launched into service.

Since 2013, SCAA has been operating only one aircraft Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) from Perth Airport.

The two air ambulances will operate nationwide and will complement two government-funded helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft.

SCAA chief executive David Craig said: “The need for air ambulance resources in Scotland is proven and we stand ready to deploy Helimeds 79 and 76 as and when they are required by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

“Our new air response asset in Aberdeen will serve not only the north-east but the whole of Scotland as and when required during these difficult times and into the future.”