STARS will be completely upgrading their nine helicopter fleet.

Chad Saxon, communications lead with STARS Manitoba, says they’ll be upgrading to the model H145 helicopter.

Each new helicopter costs 13 million dollars.

After completing an extensive assessment they were recommended to go with the H145 helicopter, which is the next generation of their BK117 helicopter.

Saxon says the federal government allocated 65 million dollars which is equivalent to 5 helicopters to help replace their fleet across Western Canada.

“It’s really great news for STARS and for patients across the prairies. This funding is still quite new and somewhat unexpected, so we don’t really know how we’ll allocate it, in which helicopters will go to which base. It was tremendous news for STARS and the people who will truly benefit from it is our patients.”

The current fleet is being replaced because the helicopters are ageing and it’s becoming more difficult to find parts and by 2022 parts for the current helicopters will no longer be made.

The advantage STARS gets with having a uniformed fleet is when a pilot has to move to a different location, there is no learning curve with a new aircraft as they already know how to fly the helicopter.