JetSetGo recently introduced air ambulance services to offer better emergency services and help improve healthcare access, even in remote areas of the country. Kanika Tekriwal, its CEO and Co-founder, talks about the infrastructure in these air ambulances, the investment that has gone into the venture, affordability of these services and more, in an interaction with Lakshmipriya Nair
Tell us more about the air ambulance service launched by JetSetGo? What kind of investment has gone into launching this service?
For a whole lot of specialised treatments including for trauma, advanced transplantation surgeries, head and spinal injuries etc. patients generally have no choice but to rely on experienced doctors with more advanced facilities in the larger cities. With the paramount objective of providing better service and increasing the odds of saving lives for patients in need, JetSetGo quickly targets the right aircraft or helicopter and hospital at the right locational proximity, minimising the cost and time for transit from Point A to Point B. The focus so far has been on building a robust technology platform to manage the logistics of coordinating between hospitals, airport service providers and existing owner operators of helicopters or private jets along with ensuring the right mix or availability of aircrafts/ helicopters in different cities. Each aircraft or helicopter capable of providing such a service in itself cost in excess of $four million to which the cost of fitting them out with necessary advance life support systems etc would cost a further $1,00,000.
Which are the areas that this service would serve? Would it be accessible to people across the country, including those living in very remote areas and difficult terrains?
JetSetGo can now mobilise an air ambulance in any part of the country in as little as two hours. Even in remote areas, as long as there is a suitable clear landing area, a helicopter can land to serve and/ or evacuate people. Whilst a lot of progress has been made over the last few years in intra-city emergency and ambulance services in India, turnaround time for patients travelling from other cities has been a very difficult process for patients and most often the effective mode of transport sometimes is only by air. The service has been launched to be able to fulfill this need better.
What kind of services are provided in these ambulances? What are the features incorporated in each of them?
Commercial airlines cannot meet this requirement as this requires specialised aircraft with Advance Life Support (ALS) systems including a flight stretcher, specialised medical equipment including ventilators and defibrillators, a full assortment of patient specific drugs and medications along with a medical team to meet the specific needs of the patient.
Are you looking for any partnerships to run these services? Any tie-ups in the pipeline?
These services will be almost impossible to run without partnerships. We are in fact looking at various partnerships across the value chain starting with leading hospitals, paramedics, ground service providers within and outside airports to ensure smooth transfer for patients and several of the existing private jet and helicopter operators to better utilise their fleet to provide these services and to increase coverage. We stringently select partners to work with who can provide professional services while maintaining the highest level of medical care.
How affordable is this service for a country like India?
The cost of utilising an air ambulance starts at Rs 70,000. This may not be affordable for some people but given that an air ambulance involves able to always keep available on demand an aircraft or helicopter at one’s beck and call with each having significantly high overheads, what is charged for these services is only to professionally run a sustainable operation.We are currently exploring the opportunity to tie-up with leading medical insurance providers in the country to include this as an offering within their existing plans. With that the cost burden for utilising this service will go down significantly.