x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Abu Dhabi plans new bases for helicopters

Bases will be built in Al Ain, Al Gharbia and Abu Dhabi city for the Abu Dhabi Police Air Wing.

Liwa Oasis, Abu Dhabi - October 29, 2008: Search and Rescue helicopters from Abu Dhabi Police take off from the Helipad at the Moreeb Hill bivouac.
Liwa Oasis, Abu Dhabi - October 29, 2008: Search and Rescue helicopters from Abu Dhabi Police take off from the Helipad at the Moreeb Hill bivouac.

ABU DHABI // Bases will be built in Al Ain, Al Gharbia and Abu Dhabi city for the Abu Dhabi Police Air Wing, whose helicopter services are in growing demand. Yesterday's announcement of the new flight centres, which will assist in search and rescue operations, followed a statement on Monday by the commander of the Air Force Medical Centre that emergency calls for helicopter aid this year have already exceeded last year's total.

The new bases will dispatch helicopters for search and rescue operations, air ambulance service, emergency evacuations, disaster relief, thermal photography and VIP security, said Col Ali Mohammad al Mazroui, the director of the Abu Dhabi Police Air Wing. He spoke at the biennial Dubai Helishow at the Airport Expo, where eight helicopters that recently joined the air wing's fleet were on display. "The show presents a good opportunity to show the services" offered by the police air wing, he said.

Lt Gen Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, the Minister of Interior, ordered the air bases to be built. Apart from the increase in rescue operations, Lt Mohammad Ali of the Abu Dhabi Police Air Wing said the service was under more pressure to take on multiple roles. Pilots routinely fly people from Oman, Yemen and Pakistan to provide humanitarian aid and provide security for visiting dignitaries. To ease the burdens Lt Ali said the fleet had recently been replaced with newer, faster helicopters with larger fuel capacity.

He emphasised the need for more collaboration between the Air Force and armed forces, police and health services in the use of helicopters. The Helishow was held under the sponsorship of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. mkwong@thenational.ae