Air Ambulance America: Wings of Medicine

Step 2: Logistics Expert

A. What is involved in medical transport? Emergency v. Non-emergency

Transport Emergency patient transport involves medical treatment and transport provided by First Responders. This Guide deals only with the Non-Emergency long distance transport of patients. Long distance is considered a distance in excess of 100 miles. In the case of long distance transport, the patient must be stable enough to be transported. Rarely will an unstable patient be allowed to travel by long distance ground ambulance or air ambulance even with trained medical personnel in attendance and Advanced Life Support equipment aboard.


B. What types of Non-Emergency Transportation are available?

Depending on your patient’s condition and the distance to be transported, the appropriate method of transporting the patient may be via long distance ground ambulance or a licensed air ambulance aircraft. Below is information designed to help you determine the best means of transport for your patient.


1. Long Distance Ground Transport “Medi-Van” or “Ambulette” transport is a good option for disabled or elderly patients and is a cost effective method for providing long distance non-emergency medical transportation services. It is an alternative to the unnecessarily high costs of long distance BLS/ALS ambulance or air medical transportation.


2. Licensed Air Ambulance Air ambulance companies are licensed by the Federal Aviation Agency. As private charter aircraft companies, air ambulance companies must obtain a Part 135 Certificate. Air Ambulance companies must utilize aircraft that are FAA Part 135 compliant. In addition to the FAA licensing requirements, various states require additional Many states require non-emergency air ambulance transportation companies to be licensed with their state agencies. To determine if a particular company is properly licensed, you may check with the individual state licensing agencies. Contact information for each state Health and Human Services licensing agency may be found at:



Commercial airlines provide only limited in-flight medical assistance. Only one US carrier permits patients on stretchers (Northwest). Cabin pressure cannot be changed adjusted to accommodate a patient passenger since this adversely impacts aircraft operations, limiting altitude, speed and range. Oxygen may be provided on some airlines and only with a medical prescription. Oxygen is limited to a maximum flow rate of 8 liters per minute. Patients’ requiring flows in excess of this cannot travel commercially. Medical equipment such as intravenous lines, respirators and special monitors are usually not permitted on commercial aircraft due to electrical and safety considerations. Patients deemed medically unstable or with active communicable diseases cannot be permitted to travel since they represent unacceptable risks to the health and safety of themselves and others. See Medical Criteria for Transportation of Patients by Commercial Airline.


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**About Air Ambulance America (AAA): Air Ambulance America is an authorized indirect Air Carrier (IAC) utilizing the services of licensed Part 121 and 135 air carriers to meet your air ambulance transportation need. AAA does not own,lease or operate aircraft, and has no affiliation with any direct air carrier. As an IAC, AAA contracts for the provision of air transportation services in its own name and coordinates the provision of medical services for your flight.
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