Airlift Northwest deploys new Learjet to Juneau

With the latest lifesaving equipment and medical supplies, the aircraft will serve communities in and around Southeast Alaska.

Airlift Northwest, the not-for-profit air medical transport service of UW Medicine, has deployed a new aircraft to its base at Juneau International Airport to serve the communities of  Southeast Alaska.  

The new Learjet45 XR has a range of nearly 2,000 miles and a cruising speed of 480 mph, so is ideal for quickly and safely transporting patients.

The aircraft is medically configured to optimize patient care with the latest in lifesaving equipment and medical supplies, such as glidescopes and a fetal heart monitor.  The two-nurse critical-care team is trained to treat pediatric, obstetric and adult patients.  Airlift Northwest also has safety protocols for care of people with potential COVID-19.

“The updated interior and avionics makes it an ideal aircraft for transporting critically ill or injured patients,”said Elise Blasco, a flight nurse and base manager for Airlift Northwest. “It is a flying ICU that can quickly and safely get patients where they need to go for comprehensive  care while also caring for them in flight.”

Each Airlift Northwest base is equipped with two units of packed red blood cells and liquid plasma, which are proven to increase survival rates for trauma patients when transfused in flight.

“Airlift Northwest is the only air medical transport service in Southeast Alaska to offer blood and plasma transfusion during flights,” said Dr. Rich Utarnachitt, medical director, Airlift Northwest.  In the past year, 124 patients have received blood products en route to emergency facilities, he said.

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