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Airlift Northwest’s New Flying ICU

Highlights |  New lifesaving aircraft deployed 

  • Airlift Northwest’s newest, high-tech jet was deployed.
  • The new jet carries life-saving equipment and other crucial medical supplies.
  • This jet will service the communities of Southeast Alaska. 

For patients in need of immediate critical care, especially those in rural locations, quick transport to a hospital can be crucial to survival. That’s why Airlift Northwest has recently deployed a new aircraft to its base at Juneau International Airport.  

The new aircraft will serve the communities of Southeast Alaska, carrying the newest lifesaving equipment and medical supplies for patients in need. With patient care as top priority, the new Learjet 45XR has an amazingly fast-yet-safe cruising speed of 480 MPH, and a range of nearly 2,000 miles.  

airlift northwest jet pilots
A look inside the new Learjet 45XR

The lifesaving equipment onboard includes glidescopes, fetal heart monitors, and other medical supplies such as units of packed red blood cells and liquid plasma.  

“Airlift Northwest is the only air medical transport service in Southeast Alaska to offer blood and plasma transfusion during flights,” says Richard Utarnachitt, MD, MS, medical director of Airlift. 

Patients are guaranteed quick and attentive treatment by the two-nurse critical care team who are not only able to treat adults, but also obstetric and pediatric patients. They also have safety protocols in place for those who may have COVID-19. 

“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,” says Elise Blasco, a flight nurse and base manager for Airlift. 

airlift northwest jet medical supplies
Patient-ready supplies and technology onboard the Learjet 45 XR

With this new technology paired with the reliable transportation and care of Airlift Northwest, the team will continue to be an important asset to Alaskan communities and a valuable resource to patients in need. 

Read more on the UW Medicine Newsroom

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