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History

An overview of the most important milestones in the history of LAR since 1988

 

May 2018

It has already been 30 years since a handful of enthusiasts launched Luxembourg Air Rescue. LAR employees celebrated this milestone anniversary on the evening of May 31 in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Grand-Duke and Grand-Duchess of Luxembourg, together with other eminent guests from the spheres of diplomacy and politics.

Apart from the ambassadors of Belgium, Great Britain, Greece, France, Germany and the Netherlands, numerous politicians from Luxembourg and the Greater Region participated in the birthday celebration at the Findel airport. Proceedings opened with a speech by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, in which he highlighted how LAR has become a treasured Luxembourg institution.

He was followed by René Closter, founding member and president of the LAR, who reviewed the organisation’s development over the last 30 years.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of the last 30 years and are grateful for the trust which the Luxembourg people and many from all over the world have in us”, he said. The LAR is a big global player and is well-known and respected internationally. Day after day, we fly missions far beyond our national borders”.

Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot and one of the heroes of “The Miracle on the Hudson”, congratulated the LAR during a keynote speech in which he described how the famous ditching in the Hudson River unfolded.

René Closter concluded by summing up the driving ethos of LAR in the following way: “To prove ourselves worthy of the trust which our 185.000 members and our patients have in us, is our daily goal – today and for the coming 30 years.”

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February 2017

The last LearJet 35A leaves the LAR fleet and is being replaced by a LearJet 45XR. With that the rolling-out program is finished. LAR disposes from now on of five LearJet 45XR.

1st December 2016

At the beginning of December, the new aircraft of Luxembourg Air Rescue, a LearJet 45XR with the registration number LX-RSQ, lands on Findel. It occupies the place of the recently sold LearJet 35A. LAR adds the new aircraft as part of a rolling-out program that had already seen 2 Learjet 35A replaced by 45XR. The goal is that the last LearJet 35A of the five-strong LAR fleet will leave during the coming year. The LAR fleet would thus be one of the youngest worldwide.

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3rd November 2016

On the 3rd of November, during the closing session of the annual global meeting of ITIJ (International Travel & Health Insurance Journal) in Berlin with over 800 participants from all over the world, LAR’s daughter entity European Air Ambulance (EAA), responsible for the commercial marketing of air ambulance services to global business partners and third parties, has been granted the prestigious ITIJ Industry award of Best Air Ambulance Provider of the Year 2016 in the world. This prize honors excellence and innovation in the global travel and health insurance industry, rewarding companies that have been providing outstanding services over the previous year. Four internationally renowned providers were nominated as finalists for this award among all globally operating flight organisations.

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1st October 2016

Since the 1st of January 2013, Luxembourg Air Ambulance, a 100% subsidiary of the Luxembourg Air Rescue, is together with a French partner, the exclusive organ team transporter for France Transplant in entire France except Paris. In October 2016, the current contract has been extended. To date, the LAR LearJet based at Findel and in charge of organ team transports flew mainly at night. Since the 1st of October 2016, a LAR LearJet is 24/7 on standby for organ team transports. This expansion of the agreement takes into account the increase in organ team transports in France, which are now increasingly taking place during the day.

20th April 2016

At last the time has come: after a construction phase of over a year – and thus staying within the original time schedule – Luxembourg Air Rescue has moved into its new premises at Findel Airport. On April 20th 2016, LAR staff, together with guests, celebrated the official inauguration in the presence of His Royal Highness, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. The newly constructed premises comprise three hangars with a combined size of 3.600 sqm for the LAR aircraft fleet, as well as 3.500 sqm office space, including a state-of-the-art Control Centre and innovative medical training facilities. For René Closter, President and CEO of Luxembourg Air Rescue, the new building establishes the ideal basis for air rescue services in Luxembourg: „The new building has been planned by our staff for our staff. It constitutes in many ways a significant progress for our live saving mission.

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The infrastructure, and thereby the working conditions, have been optimised for our staff in such decisive ways that they are now even better able to fulfil their mission of saving people in emergency situations.“ One improvement, for example, is that as a certified MDHI Service Center, LAR can now carry out all helicopter repair and maintenance services by itself. This allows a reduction in costs, especially with regards to larger maintenance tasks for which the helicopters previously had to be flown to maintenance companies located abroad, and which now can be performed in-house. Furthermore, maintenance works on the LAR ambulance aircraft fleet can also be carried out by LAR’s own technicians in the new hangars. An additional advantage is the fact that all LAR staff are now located under one roof, compared to two separate sites in the past. This will not only help to reduce costs and make a better utilisation of resources, it will also help to improve the teamwork across all departments of the LAR Group. Thanks to shorter communication lines between different departments, working conditions and processes can further be improved, which reflect the high quality standards of LAR and contribute to the well-being of patients and members.

September 2015

In September, LAR is given permission to carry out the “base maintenance” on its rescue helicopters, also called annual or periodic maintenance, since it occurs once a year. To date, this inspection has been carried out in “MDHI service centers” in Germany, England and most recently in Belgium. This “base maintenance” meant that costs related to the transport of the helicopter and to the accommodation of the crew went beyond the normal maintenance costs. The fact that the LAR helicopter technicians are now able to carry out the annual inspection of the LAR helicopters in their own hangar will make the maintenance work more costeffective. And this is just one of the many advantages that this entitlement entails. It also means, for example, a substantial time saving. So far, the transport time has been added to the duration of the “base maintenance”, which usually takes four to five weeks. This could be delayed due to the weather conditions. For these reasons, it has always been the aim of the LAR to be able to carry out the “base maintenance” of its helicopters itself.

30th September 2015

The prize of the Foundation of the Deutsche Bank Luxembourg S.A. for the support of the German Luxembourgish cooperation in the area of the sciences of 2015 goes to René Closter for his merit around the foundation and the development of “Luxembourg Air Rescue”.

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June 2015

For the fourth time since 2002, LAR is audited in all its fields and receives the quality label ISO 9001 for another 3 years. This regular control by the European Society for Certification of Management Systems (ESCM) not only helps to maintain a high quality level for LAR but furthermore continuously improves it.

21st May 2015

On the 21st of May, Luxembourg Air Rescue celebrates the 10 years of cross border co-operation with Saarland and Rhineland- Palatinate. During the festivities in Nittel, at the same venue where 10 years ago everything began, the Minister of the Interior of Luxembourg, Dan Kersch, the Minister of Interior and Sports of Saarland, Klaus Bouillon, and the Assistant Secretary of State of Rhineland-Palatinate, Randolf Stich, participate. Starting with 2 missions a day, the rescue helicopter Air Rescue 3 which is coordinated by the control center Trier, flies nowadays up to 1.000 missions per year in these two federal states.

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10 February 2015

Ready to accept new challenges: LAR puts its new medical equipment for the transportation of patients with highly infectious diseases into operation. This medical evacuation module (Medevac) thus enables the safe transport of patients suffering an Ebola-infection for example, meaning that neither crew nor jet come into contact with the pathogen during the transport. The development of this “flying isolation ward” for the LearJet 45XR airplane took several months, while considering all medical as well as aeronautical requirements. In addition, pilots, medical and ground handling staff had to absolve a special training in cooperation with Médecins Sans Frontières. The official presentation of the new equipment was held on February 10th, 2015 in presence of Luxemburg’s Minister of the Interior, Dan Kersch, members of World Health Organisation, the Haut-Commissariat à la Protection Nationale, the Administration des Services de Secours and the US-State-Department. The development of this special equipment followed a request from the Luxembourgish government in the context of an EU-project. All related costs are covered by public funds.
 

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8th December 2014

In the wee hours of December 8th 2014, Luxembourg Air Rescue’s recently purchased LearJet 45XR aircraft lands at the Findel Airport. This expansion of the fleet to a total of five air ambulances follows the continuing growth of LAR activities. Since 22nd January 2015, the new aircraft, with the registration LX-ONE, carries out patient repatriation flights after the aircraft has been coated in the LAR corporate colours and the authorisation procedures have been completed by the DAC (Direction de l’Aviation Civile).

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12th June 2014

In the presence of Minister Bausch, René Closter, President and CEO of Luxembourg Air Rescue, lays the symbolic foundation stone of the new LAR operational building at the Luxembourg Airport. Ending the temporary housing in containers and tents, the new functional LAR building will contain 2 hangars. Following a 15 month long construction period, the building will house the state of the art control center, as well as a new maintenance hangar, thus creating an ideal work environment for LAR internal maintenance operations. As MDHI Service Center, LAR will subsequently be able to perform the entire maintenance of its rescue helicopter fleet in-house, thus eliminating the costly transfer to England for major maintenance works. The new building will regroup all crews and employees and finally offer them an ideal work environment with an adequate and needed infrastructure in order to fulfil their daily lifesaving mission.

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18th April 2013

In 2013, LAR celebrates its 25th anniversary, therefore offering its members an exclusive trip with Luxair and inviting the press to visit the installations at the Findel airport. On June 12th, numerous guests and employees gathered for an academic session. The Grand-Duke Henri and the Grand-Duchesse Maria Teresa took the opportunity to participate in the celebration at the Philharmonie Luxembourg and congratulated LAR for its 25 years of live-saving activities.
 

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1st January 2013

Luxembourg Air Ambulance, a 100% subsidiary of Luxembourg Air Rescue, becomes, together with a French partner, the exclusive organ team transporter for France Transplant in entire France except Paris. In line with the centralisation of the organ team transport, Luxembourg Air Ambulance has jointly with its French partner won the public tender for the provision of a central operations centre as well as the operating of the organ team transports. Since 1st January 2013, all organ team transports for all French transplantation centres (except those in Paris) are coordinated and executed via the LAR Luxembourg Control Center. Approximately 1.300 missions are operated jointly over the year.
 

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13th November 2012

LAR welcomes its 185.000th member, family Wagner-Da Silva from Useldange, at its base at the Findel airport. About 60% of the Luxembourgish population now support the life-saving air rescue services. René Closter, President and CEO of LAR, points out: “LAR only exists because of the support of our members, which are our “raison d’être”. Thanks to the support of the Luxembourgish population, the solidarity community and the membership fees, LAR can provide life-saving services by air.”
 

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5th June 2012

Due to the change and homogenisation of the LAR fleet, the Cessna Citation Mustang leaves the fleet.

February 2012

On behalf of the Foreign Ministry of Luxembourg Luxembourg Air Rescue send a rescue helicopter to Albania. After a violent onset of winter and massive snowfalls whole regions are cut off by of the outside world. The supply in numerous municipalities in the north of the country is not guaranteed anymore. The Luxembourg Air Rescue flies missions to supply the people in remote mountain villages with food and drugs.

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17th November 2011

The two new ambulance aircraft are presented to the Luxembourgish public. The technical developments of the past 20 years made a restructuring of the fleet necessary in order to stay abreast of the changes in aviation and medical technology. With the new fleet, LAR journeys into a new era of air ambulance services.
 

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1st Mai 2011

On May 1st, 2011, the first of two new aircraft lands at Findel airport. The LearJet 45XR is one of the most up-to-date jets of its category in terms of technology and can cover great distances while consuming only a minimum quantity of fuel. The LearJet 45XR also benefits from its short-landing capabilities as well as its speed. Together with an Austrian specialist in air ambulance interior technology, an innovative and unique patient transport system was developed, which not only meets the high quality standards of LAR, but also offers the option to quickly adjust the interior to the particular and varied tasks and missions of a state-of-the-art air rescue organisation.

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February 2011

After a long preparation phase, Skyservice Air Ambulance and European Air Ambulance EAA (a GEIE between LAR and DRF Luftrettung) organize a special reception to officially announce their collaboration. The new service accelerates the repatriation of patients from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. No time will be lost on compulsory crew rest times since the wing-to-wing transfer will take place at the end of the duty time of one crew and include the handover of the patient to a fresh crew from the partner organization. Critical patient transfers will take place in secure environments at the relevant service’s home airfield - in Canada at the Skyservice Air Ambulance bases in Montreal or Goose Bay and in Europe at the EAA bases in Luxembourg or Baden/Karlsruhe. All partners dispose of state-of-the-art medical equipment. Such cooperation also exists with RMSI, who is specialized in the patient evacuation in crisis regions. RMSI stabilizes the patient in that region and then flies him out to the next international and safe airport, where EAA takes over and continues the repatriation under optimal medical conditions.

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23rd November 2010

LAR President and CEO René Closter welcomes LAR’s 180.000th member at the Luxembourg airport and thanks the family personally. In his speech, he emphasizes the importance of the support of the members once again, because they are LAR’s “raison d’être” and without them, air rescue services in Luxembourg could not be guaranteed.
 

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18th July 2010

LAR, in cooperation with the Luxembourg Ministry of Home Affairs, is expanding its application area by including the Bambi Bucket®, an external water container used in fire-fighting. With the Bambi Bucket®, forest, large-scale as well as hard-to-access fires, can be extinguished by air.
 

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23rd June 2010

For the first time, Luxembourg Air Rescue participates in the National Holiday parade. Three helicopters fly over the “Avenue de la Liberté” during the civil part of the parade.

March/April 2010

LAR sends an MD902 helicopter to Austria as part of a 6-week training program. The LAR pilots will provide on-site training on the MD 902 helicopter for the helicopter pilots from the air rescue organisation Heli Austria. The fact that LAR has been asked to do this by its Austrian colleagues in this very important area proves that Luxembourg Air Rescue is recognised at an international level.

5th March 2010

The first mission of LAR’s fifth helicopter. The MD902 helicopter with the registration number LX-HAR is the newest addition to the LAR fleet.
 

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December 2009

An European regulation elaborated by EASA has stipulated that all helicopters in service for air rescue purposes need to be upgraded by the end of 2009 to fulfil the highest performance class possible in aviation. After two years of considerable financial investments, all five LAR rescue helicopters are equipped with the needed performance driven engines as well as separated tanks as required by these European directives.

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9th September, 2009

Luxembourg Air Rescue gets the official admittance for the independent maintenance of its helicopter fleet. Maintenance works can from now on be executed faster and more flexibly.

June 2009

Renewed test and confirmation of the certification ISO 9001:2008 in all areas of LAR.

29th April 2009

The LAR fleet is expanded to include a Cessna Citation Mustang, an aircraft to be primarily used for the organ team transportation activities. The Mustang Citation has the advantage of only needing a very short landing runway, thus allowing it to fly into regional airports as well as smaller airfields.

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April 2009

An additional hangar on P5 at the Findel airport has been remitted by the Ministry of Transportation. This interim solution enables LAR to shelter its aircraft and technical equipment.

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September 2008

LAR welcomes its 175.000th member. Within 20 years, LAR has become member wise the biggest organisation in Luxembourg.

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July 2008

In cooperation with France Transplant, LAR expands its organ transportation activities throughout the north-eastern region of France.

April 2008

LAR is 20 years old and during a press event with three Ministers (Mars Di Bartolomeo, Minister of Health and Social Security, Lucien Lux, Minister of the Environment and Transportation, and Jean-Marie Halsdorf, Minister of Home Affairs and Town and Country Planning), LAR looks back on the initial difficulties and the lifesaving missions it executed over the last two decades.

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October 2007

Following a successful bid on a European tender, the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg (HUS) appoint LAR as their exclusive organ transportation provider for the whole of France.
 

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November 2006

LAR provides a rescue helicopter for the NATO summit in Riga. The expenses of this mission are covered by the Luxembourgish government.

July 2006

Extension of the LAR fleet with a doublestretcher LearJet 35A (LX-TWO), enabling the simultaneous transportation of two intensive care patients.

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October 2005

During a three months long commitment following an earthquake in the PakistaniKashmir area, LAR executes 925 helicopter missions transporting 2.112 patients and 20 tons of aid supplies. This mission is the longest humanitarian disaster relief mission in the history of LAR.

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March 2005

Cross border help - extension of the fleet by a fourth helicopter: An emergency knows no borders: By contract with the Ministers of Internal Affairs of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, LAR is integrated into the rescue system of both German Federal States. From now on, an additional LAR helicopter positioned at Findel Airport operates daily rescue missions in the nearby German border area. The costs of these interventions are covered by the German health insurance schemes.

March 2005

The helicopter hangar of LAR in Ettelbrück is inaugurated. From now on, the helicopter “Air Rescue 2” is stationed there, thus increasing the operational readiness in the Oesling, while saving expenses for the daily flights from and to the LAR basis at Findel as well as reducing the noise levels for local residents by approximately 40%.

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January 2005

An LAR medical team provides help by means of the LearJet into the Tsunami affected areas after a tidal wave disaster.

27th May 2004

After a long battle, the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the LAR hangar in Ettelbrück is finally held!

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February 2004

An LAR air ambulance provides humanitarian relief efforts following an earthquake in Morocco.

26th December 2003

Following a devastating earthquake killing more than 80.000 people and by request of the Luxembourgish Foreign Ministry / “Direction de la Coopération au Développement”, LAR transfers both of its air ambulance jets to Bam, Iran. In collaboration with the canine rescue unit of the Luxembourgish Red Cross, LAR provides instantaneous disaster relief. From now on, humanitarian commitments are part of the mission spectrum of LAR. Two further humanitarian missions followed within one year.

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July 2003

The second air ambulance, type LearJet 35A (LX-LAR), is put into operation for worldwide repatriation flights. The LX-LAR replaces the King Air B200 (LX-DUC).

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October 2002

Fleet extension: In order to guarantee continuous air operations during maintenance intervals, a third MD Explorer helicopter is purchased as spare helicopter.ème hélicoptère du type MD 900 Explorer servant comme machine de remplacement.

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September 2002

Signature of a quality charter by five leading European air ambulance organizations: REGA (CH), DRF (D), ADAC (D), Tyrol Air Ambulance (A) and LAR (L).

9th July 2002

As first air rescue organisation worldwide, LAR receives the ISO 9001:2000 Certification in all domains.

1er Janvier 2001

LAR met en service un hélicoptère MD 900 Explorer pour les besoins et aux frais de la Police Grand-Ducale.

March 2000

The LAR air ambulance fleet is modernised: The Mitsubishi MU 2 is replaced by a King Air B200 (LX-DUC).

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November 1999

Due to the numerous foreign country repatriations from much further away countries, LAR puts the second air ambulance, type LearJet 35A (LX-ONE), into use

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April 1999

In cooperation with Caritas International, LAR brings roughly a ton of urgently required emergency medication to a refugee camp in Kosovo.

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March 1999

Fleet change: After 8 years of faithful services to LAR, the BO 105 is replaced by a second MD Explorer helicopter.

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September 1998

The first LAR-owned air ambulance, a Mitsubishi MU 2, is put into operation. From now on, member repatriation flights can be performed within Europe and North Africa.

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19th July 1996

Opening of a second air base in Ettelbrück, enabling the SAMU to reach every point in Luxembourg within 10 minutes.

19th July 1996

An MD 900 Explorer helicopter replaces the Ecureuil. Thanks to its size, its inferior noise levels, and its NOTAR-System (the MD 900 Explorer has no rear rotor thus reducing the danger of accidents), this helicopter type is particularly suitable for rescue missions.

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May 1995

The LAR operations have successfully implemented the standards of the international flight regulations JAR OPS 3.

April 1995

An additional helicopter of the type Ecureuil is added to the fleet. The Ecureuil is exclusively used for secondary transports (from hospital to hospital) and based at the Findel Airport.

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April 1995

Hereditary Grand Duke Henri takes over the patronage of LAR.

1st November 1991

Thanks to a convention with the Minister of Internal Affairs, LAR becomes a part of the Luxembourgish rescue service SAMU.
 

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15th May 1991

Fleet change: The new two turbine BO 105 CBS replaces the one turbine Bell Long Ranger.

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9th July 1990

General vicar Mathias Schiltz is nominated President of the Fondation Luxembourg Air Rescue.

15th June 1989

Acknowledgment of the “Fondation Luxembourg Air Rescue” as a non-profit institution by Grand-Ducal decree.

1th March 1989

LAR presents its first helicopter. On the same day, the Bell B 206 Long Ranger flies its first mission. Initially, LAR was only allowed to transport patients from hospital to hospital.

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18 April 1988

Many political, logistical, administrative and most of all financial hurdles had to be overcome before the official foundation of Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR A.s.b.l.).