The plans were outlined by AMREF’s chief pilot, Ephraim Murigu, who said: “We are looking to expand into new markets, to fly to the United States, to Australia, and to increase our ability to serve the African market from any point in Africa at competitive prices for our customers.
Mugiru also confirmed that the organization may also add a second Cessna 680 Sovereign to its fleet in the coming years. AMREF acquired its first Cessna Citation Sovereign in 2021 – which it says played a vital role in expanding the market it served.
“We have carried out missions from Africa to China, missions from Africa to Northern Europe – Stockholm, Denmark, Norway, Far East-Bali, Hong Kong and the remote islands of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives , Diego Carcia, Toku Island in Tonga,” said Murigu. “We have now been able to work closely with partners in the United States to repatriate patients all over America.”
The jet has also proven beneficial in overcoming many obstacles imposed by the pandemic and associated international travel restrictions. Mugiru continued: “With the jet, we were able to overcome some of these [pandemic] restrictions in certain countries, by dropping off a patient and positioning ourselves in another country that is more favorable to stopovers for our crews. In addition, the demand for Covid patient transfers was high and with these aircraft we were able to serve this market very well. »
The short-term strategy is always to maximize efficiency
However, Mugiru explained that while his organization had big ambitions for expansion in the coming years, AMREF’s immediate strategy over the next three years was to maximize the use of its fleet of fixed-wing aircraft. existing, which includes five aircraft:
- A Cessna Citation XLS Jet C560 on hire-purchase
- A Cessna Citation Bravo Jet C550 on hire-purchase
- A Citation Sovereign C680 for hire-purchase
- Two wholly owned Pilatus PC-12s.
The new strategy would mark a new wave of expansion for AMREF’s reach. The last decade has seen AMREF expand its operations in West Africa, South Africa and Egypt following the modernization of its fleet in 2016; and further in 2018, when it began conducting missions in the Indian Ocean and Mid-Atlantic islands, as well as medevac missions in Europe and North America.
AMREF Flying Doctors also recently signed a partnership agreement in late March with financial services conglomerate NCBA Group, to offer discounts on medical evacuation services to NCBA customers.