KAWARTHA LAKES-The Ontario government says it is investing over $108 million to expand Ornge Air Ambulance’s fixed-wing fleet with four additional planes and replace their existing eight fixed-wing fleet.
“Our government recognizes the important role Ornge plays in providing patients with timely access to care, no matter where they live in Ontario,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Investing in new, state-of-the-art planes is another way we are making it faster for Ontarians in rural and remote communities to connect to the care they need, when they need it, for years to come.”
Since December 2022, Ontario has procured a fleet of eight new fixed-wing aircraft to replace the existing ageing fleet and increase Ornge’s ability to connect people in northern, remote and Indigenous communities to timely access to emergency care according to the province. The province is now investing more to expand Ornge’s fleet from eight to 12. Once the new 12-plane fleet is ready in 2026, Ornge will be able to add two fully staffed, 24/7 air ambulance crews to further connect people in the region in need of rapid emergency care.
In addition to updating and expanding Ornge’s fleet of aircraft, Ontario is providing Ornge with nearly $10 million to move from their existing Sudbury base to a larger hangar in the city that can house both their helicopter and expanded fixed-wing services in one base. This new hangar will help better coordinate emergency care in the north, to ensure Ontarians receive the high-quality care they deserve across the province.
“This is a transformative investment in Ontario’s air ambulance and critical care transport program. With a new 24/7 fixed-wing air ambulance crew based in Northeastern Ontario and additional aircraft added to our fleet, we will be able to bring high-quality care in transport to more patients with enhanced reliability,” said Dr. Homer Tien, President and CEO of Ornge. “This will help us deliver on our mandate to improve health equity, particularly in Northern Ontario and among northern Indigenous communities.”
Ornge currently operates 20 aircraft with the planes used for longer-distance transports. The helicopters are for shorter distances and emergency on-scene response. Ornge conducts approximately 21,000 air ambulance and critical care land ambulance patient transports annually, with the fixed-wing fleet making up 17 per cent of the total patient transport volumes.