International Assistance Group (IAG) Regional Consultant, Raynold Lyngdoh sees a bright future for Air Ambulance operations in South Asia, as part of a global industry expected to grow to over $10 billion by 2030.
Lyngdoh believes the air ambulance sector is often overlooked within South Asia, despite its continued growth and vital role relocating patients in medical emergencies.
The future of the air ambulance industry in South Asia is forecast to expand, designated as the fastest-growing region providing this type of transportation and medical care during critical medical situations.
In developing countries, particularly in the South Asia context, emergency situations associated with cardiovascular and diabetic conditions, are on the rise. During these situations, air ambulances are highly sought after as every minute counts to save lives.
Inevitably, the rapid rise of overall global healthcare spending has created various technical and infrastructural demands and developments.
In 2013, the per capita healthcare spending globally was around $8.5 trillion, it is expected to exceed $20 trillion by 2045.
The global air ambulance industry is expected to grow from around $4.89 billion to over $10 billion by 2030.
Within the International Assistance Group network, an alliance of more than 150 independent assistance companies, service providers, and correspondents, there are many private and public-private Air Ambulance ventures within the South Asia region, with proven capabilities.
From securing victims from remote, inaccessible territories, such as the Himalayan range, to facilitating timely organ donor transports, there are some incredible rescue stories of providers delivering world-class patient care and partner support.
These include Air Dynasty Heli Services in Nepal, an IAG partner, the International Critical Care Air Transport Team and Hiflying LLC in India.
Lyngdoh sees India and China as key emerging regions with significant expansion and investment in their respective industries.
Late 2021 media reports indicate India’s plans to upscale their medical helicopter services offering and infrastructure.
The Civil Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya Scianda, emphasised the release of a new Helicopter Policy in the country, as ‘instrumental for those in need of urgent medical transport following vehicular accidents.’
In India, the rise in the medical tourism industry has increased service demand and air ambulance companies continue to emerge.
This has created a competitive market, resulting in positive outcomes for patients.
Air Ambulance success stories have encouraged the government of Bhutan to establish an Aeromedical emergency retrieval team, with hopes to expand their services further.
Covid-19, ironically, helped to highlight the value of air ambulance services.
During the height of the pandemic, traditional airline companies, seeking alternate revenue sources, adapted existing fleets to service emergency transportation requirements.
As demand for this service increased, the costs became more competitive and affordable in nature.
Similarly, the state of lockdowns and travel restrictions across states and countries forced medical emergency operations to look to air ambulance service as an alternative method of transporting patients.
International Assistance Group General Manager Louise Heywood said people worldwide are seeking better health insurance and travel protection.
“While the cost of air ambulances can seem prohibitive, air ambulance services are often fully covered as part of premium insurance coverage packages,” she said.
“Our Core Partners and Assistance Partners, in partnership with IAG Air Ambulance providers across our global network, assist in the management of emergency care on a daily basis.
“Their highly-trained medical experts and case management staff help manage all aspects of a client’s emergency situation, from logistics and paperwork through to full medical care and assistance for travelling companions,” Louise details.
As businesses, travellers, and customers across South Asia seek faster and more competent transportation options during emergency situations, air ambulance services are here to stay.
They will become more efficient, while keeping the costs to customers affordable.
Travellers and businesses operating in South Asia, or anywhere in the world, should know what their insurance programs and policies provide, and ensure access to air ambulance services is always included, should the need arise.
Planning ahead and knowing the right sources for air ambulance services could be the difference between life and death.
Regional Consultant - India & South Asia
International Assistance Group
About the author
Raynold Lyngdoh serves as Regional Consultant for the International Assistance Group. He is a reputed risk management professional with global expertise in travel/medical/security assistance services, cross-cultural engagements, crisis response and risk management services.
Through diverse intercultural relationships and by taking an ‘Ethnorisk’ approach, he considers himself adept in creating preemptive crisis management solutions, which are relevant to the operating environment, profile and ability of organizations to protect their people, assets, operations and reputation.