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  Nr. 80 - April 2005
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Air-Ambulance Update

by Iris Papathanasiou, April 2005
Mayor Yiannis Rangoussis held a press conference at the Town Hall on March 15th in order to inform local journalists about current actions regarding the air-ambulance.

Plans for the purchase of the air-ambulance began in 2003. The purchase cost for the plane - 400,000¤ - has been budgeted for in the financial plan of the Velentzeio Foundation; ongoing operation and maintenance will be covered by an annual amount of 55,000-60,000¤ from the Paros Municipality.

The project has been delayed so far due to legal matters initially concerning the purchase of the plane by the Velentzeio Foundation (whether or not it conforms to the purposes of the foundation), and secondly whether other organizations except for the National First Aid Centre (EKAB) can have the responsibility to perform emergency flights. The first matter has been resolved with the approval of the South Aegean Precinct. The latter is a subject that will shortly be discussed at the plenary session of the central legal council. The decision, if positive, will mean that the purchase of the plane should be cleared to go ahead.

Another matter, however, that is very important in the proceedings, is the fact that EKAB has for the first time expressed the wish to cooperate with local authorities in the administration of the air-ambulance. At the press conference there was an open line of communication with the President of the Health Council of the South Aegean Precinct, Mr Eythivoulidis, who confirmed the positive approach of EKAB towards the air-ambulance of Paros. It is significant to note that EKAB has not solved the problem of emergency air transportation after the three tragic accidents of its first aid helicopters over the Aegean in recent years. Currently military helicopters perform these emergency flights.

An alliance with EKAB is an advantage for the organization of the project by the local authorities, and, as was stated at the press conference, it opens the way for further support, possibly to include even financial support. Meetings are planned between the head of EKAB, Civil Aviation and the Health Council of the South Aegean Precinct, in order to discuss and decide details concerning supervision, rules of safety and the necessary specifications that will fulfil the requirements of emergency flights.
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