Skip to main content

What Should You Look for in a Medical Air Evacuation Service?

What to look for


An emergency that requires a medical evacuation doesn't happen with every trip your client takes, but it can happen at any time. When it does, how can you ensure that you have the best partner by your side, ready to take to the sky?

Medical evacuations only really take place when:

  • There is a medical emergency or condition that can't be adequately treated within the current location,
  • A patient needs to be transferred from their location to their home country, or
  • Other planned patient transfers.


While there are a number of providers to choose from, you will need to have a few considerations in mind when picking out the right company that will work with you, your clients and care for their needs.

So, we thought we would unpack what you need to look for when choosing a medical air evacuation partner.

Track Record and Experience

When it comes to medical services, especially air ambulance services, you will want a company that is experienced and knows what they are doing.

Experience matters in this industry, and you don’t want a company that does not have experience, not only in medical care but also in aeromedical transport and international aviation services.

Air medical teams should have extensive experience in emergency medicine. Additionally, it should include transport medicine, aeromedical operations, out-of-hospital medical care, medical escorts, and worldwide medical logistics.

Universal Air Evac offers this, with an extensive team boasting over 20 years of experience in the industry, and more than 30,000 flight hours of combined air ambulance experience.

The team at Universal Air Evac provides doctor-based, ICU equipped, air ambulance services to the highest quality standards, including programs from the European Aeromedical Institute and Flight Safety Foundation.

Accreditations and Associations

The next thing to check would be the accreditations of the company and who they are associated with.

This can be found on their website. If you are struggling to locate the accreditation, you can contact the company for further information.

From a South African perspective, you will want to look out for authorisation to operate air services from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) with approval for air ambulance services (Part 138). Additional accreditations can be held which ensures increased aviation standards, with a focus on safety, training, oversight, and operational control.

Lastly, accreditation that promotes internationally recognised, high standards for patient care, safety and quality is important as operations are provided to many destinations and clients globally.

Patient Care and Customer Service

The next thing to consider, when picking your medical air evacuation partner, is the services they offer.

Remember, there are different options to consider, and you will need to choose something based on your clients' travel needs.

Most companies do offer an insight into their services on their website, and some go further to list what their fleet is equipped with.

Take, for example, us, at Universal Air Evac. We have listed the following as part of our services on our flights:

  • Multi-parameter vital signs monitor
  • Transport ventilators
  • Medical essentials, including:
    • Infusion pumps and syringe drivers
    • Portable blood chemistry analyser
    • Video laryngoscope;
    • Intraosseous vascular access system
    • Portable suction units
    • Full set of emergency & ICU medications and consumables
    • Full immobilisation equipment, including vacuum mattresses as standard
    • Portable negative pressure patient isolation units


Apart from that, there are providers, like us, who also offer medical escorts for patients travelling on commercial airlines. So, if a client needs this type of assistance, rather than an air ambulance evacuation, you will know what to look for.

Remember, services will also need to include ground ambulance services, and assistance from the current hospital to the receiving hospital bedside, so make sure to check that that is offered on the site too.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right medical air evacuation service doesn’t necessarily need to be an overly in-depth process. You will simply need to know what you are looking for when it comes to experience, accreditations and professionalism.

Want to know more about us and the services we offer? Then contact us. We are at your service.