A new £8.5million air ambulance has entered service in Hertfordshire and Essex.

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance's new AW169 helicopter at EHAAT’s Earls Colne baseEssex & Herts Air Ambulance's new AW169 helicopter at EHAAT’s Earls Colne base (Image: Maria Slocombe / EHAAT)

Life-saving charity Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) welcomed its new AW169 helicopter this week.

The state-of-the-art helicopter started service from the Earls Colne airbase in Essex on Tuesday, June 4.

EHAAT, which is not part of the NHS and does not have access to National Lottery funding, relies on the generosity and dedication of the local community.

The £8.5m required for the purchase was fuelled by funds raised by supporters, together with personal and thoughtful gifts from donors.

The enhanced EHAAT fleet now comprises of two AW169 aircraft and four rapid response vehicles, across its bases in Earls Colne and North Weald.  

The new new AW169 at EHAAT’s Earls Colne baseThe new new AW169 at EHAAT’s Earls Colne base (Image: Maria Slocombe / EHAAT)

EHAAT will showcase the new helicopter at its Heli-bration event in the grounds of Hertfordshire stately home Hatfield House on Sunday, July 14.

Jane Gurney, EHAAT’s CEO, said: “We couldn’t have reached this incredible achievement without the generosity of our amazing supporters.

"We are your local life-saving service, it is your air ambulance, so please join us at the Heli-bration event to see it up close, to meet our team, and to enjoy a fun afternoon celebrating this special milestone, together.”



The purchase of this cutting-edge aircraft underscores EHAAT's commitment to delivering first-class pre-hospital care to critically ill and injured patients at the scene of incidents.

Crews comprising of highly skilled pilots and co-pilots and expert pre-hospital care doctors and critical care paramedics are dispatched on average seven times a day.

The new AW169 at EHAAT’s Earls Colne baseThe new AW169 at EHAAT’s Earls Colne base (Image: Maria Slocombe / EHAAT)

In the first five months of this year (January to May), they have attended to 917 patients at a range of road traffic collisions, medical emergencies, accidental injuries and other trauma incidents.

Jane said: “Owning two state-of-the-art helicopters benefits the local communities we serve by allowing us to fly faster and further.

"But most importantly, the AW169 maximises patient outcomes by providing the space required to carry all the medical equipment needed, including blood, for life-saving interventions at the scene, as well as allowing the clinicians to comfortably care for the patient while on route to major trauma centres and specialist hospitals.”

She added: “It has been a pleasure to have the team at Gama Aviation and Leonardo join us on the introduction of this new aircraft.

"For training the crews and fitting the fully customised medical interior to our specifications, which will allow EHAAT to continue to deliver the best possible pre-hospital care and help our life-saving mission.”


About Heli-bration – sky high family fun

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance above Hatfield HouseEssex & Herts Air Ambulance above Hatfield House (Image: EHAAT)

By way of thanking supporters and to show off the new helicopter as it enters service, EHAAT is holding its Heli-bration family fun day on Sunday, July 14 in the grounds of Hatfield House, from noon to 4pm.

This one-of-a-kind event promises a fun-filled afternoon for the whole family.

Entry is free and Hatfield House is just a short walk from Hatfield train station or there is plenty of free parking available onsite.

Visitors can look forward to a spectacular 'take off' experience as the helicopter takes to the skies at the end of the afternoon.

Plus, there will be an opportunity to get an exclusive close-up of the aircraft and meet the crew.

EHAAT CEO Jane Gurney said: "The Heli-bration is our way of saying a huge thank you to our amazing supporters who have made the acquisition of our second AW169 helicopter possible.

"From our regular givers, to raffle and lottery players, from gifts in wills and personal donations, to our shop customers and tin collections, everyone has played a part in getting us to this incredible milestone. 

“We are so excited to bring the community together to help us celebrate this momentous occasion and we are honoured that Lord and Lady Salisbury and the Hatfield House team have welcomed us warmly to celebrate in their fantastic grounds.”

To register for tickets for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Heli-bration event, visit ehaat.org/heli-bration.


Essex & Herts Air Ambulance in numbers

  • EHAAT is a registered charity that provides a Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) for the critically ill and injured of Essex, Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas.
  • Each of the charity’s HEMS teams consist of two pilots, a pre-hospital care doctor and a critical care paramedic.
  • These teams attended 2,705 missions in 2023, with each mission costing around £2,800. Breakdown of missions for 2023 were: 549 road traffic collisions, 1,105 medical emergencies, 1,051 accidental injuries and other trauma incidents.
    1,471 missions were delivered by air ambulance and 1,234 missions were delivered by Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs).
  • During 2023, EHAAT’s critical care teams treated 76 patients with blood products, involved primarily in road traffic collisions, penetrating injuries and falls.
  • The service is provided free of charge, but the charity receives limited direct funding from the Government and none from the National Lottery. It costs in excess of £1million every month to keep the service operational and cover all charitable costs.
  • The fleet consists of two air ambulances, and four RRVs. The RRVs are crewed by a pre-hospital care doctor and a critical care paramedic and carry the same life-saving equipment as the helicopters.
  • From 7am until 8.30pm, the critical care team provides the service using helicopters based at Earls Colne and North Weald. RRVs are used when the helicopters are unable to fly because of poor weather or maintenance.
  •  Overnight from 8.30pm to 7.30am the service is provided using an RRV based at North Weald airfield.