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STARS News Release

Construction Underway at STARS Regina Base

December 13, 2011

December 13, Regina, SK – Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris, STARS representatives and local media received a phase-one project briefing today at the site of the future STARS helicopter base at the Regina International Airport. Construction is progressing on schedule in advance of the anticipated spring 2012 launch of operations.

“We're very excited to move a step closer to introducing helicopter air medical service in our province,” Health Minister Don McMorris said. “STARS will give us another option to get critically ill patients quickly to hospital, and we're thankful for all the partners and donors who have stepped forward to make this program a reality in Saskatchewan.”

An existing hangar, purchased by STARS from Redhead Equipment Ltd. in October 2011, will undergo re-development to include space for the helicopter, aircraft engineering equipment and maintenance activity, and medical and aviation crew training and staging areas. A new adjacent building is also being constructed to include crew quarters, clinical education and training areas, and office space for support staff and volunteers. Graham Construction is the company contracted for this project.

“This helicopter air ambulance base is possible thanks to the partnership and support of government, emergency services and health care providers, and the significant funding received from our corporate donors,” said STARS Foundation vice president Rod Gantefoer.

Several major donors have provided generous contributions to the STARS Saskatchewan program including Crescent Point Energy, Mosaic, Potash Corporation, Enbridge, Enerplus, Husky Energy, and Rawlco Radio.

STARS signed a service agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan in April 2011 to provide helicopter air ambulance services from bases in Regina and Saskatoon.

STARS is a charitable non-profit organization that provides a safe, rapid, highly specialized emergency medical air transport system for critically ill and injured patients.

Reviewing construction drawings for the new STARS hangar in Regina

Pictured from left to right in the attached photo are Mr. Rod Gantefoer, Executive Vice President for the STARS Foundation, with the Honourable Don McMorris, Minister of Health for Saskatchewan, reviewing construction drawings for the new STARS hangar in Regina.

For more information

Cam Heke
Manager, Media & Public Relations
Media: 1-866-966-8277


STARS has been operating since 1985 and has flown over 21,000 missions from its existing bases in Calgary, Edmonton and Grande Prairie, serving 94 per cent of the Alberta population and parts of eastern British Columbia.

The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $10 million per year beginning in 2012-2013. The remaining funds will be raised through STARS fundraising initiatives including corporate partnerships. To date, several major donors have stepped forward with generous contributions including:

  • Crescent Point Energy as lead donor ($5 million)
  • Mosaic ($5.5 million towards a helicopter and hangar in Regina)
  • Potash Corporation (funding for a hangar and an AW139 helicopter in Saskatoon; the estimated value of these assets is $27 million)
  • Enbridge ($500,000)
  • Enerplus ($300,000)
  • Husky Energy ($250,000)
  • Rawlco Radio ($100,000)

The Regina base, to be located at the Regina International Airport, is scheduled to open in the spring of 2012. A base in Saskatoon is anticipated to open in late 2012.

STARS will work together with existing emergency medical services in the province and the addition of helicopter EMS will complement Saskatchewan's existing emergency medical transportation services.

STARS is a charitable not-for-profit organization governed by a volunteer STARS Society and volunteer STARS Foundation Board of Directors, and managed by an experienced senior leadership team.

Crews consist of a pilot, a co-pilot, a nurse experienced in emergency/ICU care and an advanced life support paramedic. A referral emergency physician trained in pre-hospital care and transportation is also available by telephone for every emergency response, and is airborne in the helicopter when medically necessary.

STARS has a fly friendly policy that all of our pilots abide by, which directs them to reduce noise as much as possible when approaching and departing landing areas. STARS works with local regulatory bodies including airport authorities and governments to identify preferred pathway routes to the hospital helipad. Some ways that we reduce sound levels include taking flight paths around high density residential areas whenever possible and approaching hospitals and landing zones at the highest altitude possible, while maintaining a constant focus on safety.

Once STARS has accepted a mission request, the helicopter and crew are typically airborne within eight minutes.

There will be approximately 100 employees (including full time and part time positions) for the two Saskatchewan bases. This includes air medical and aviation crews, as well as aircraft engineers, fundraising staff and support staff.