What does it cost to book an air ambulance in India right now? | Condé Nast Traveller IndiaMay 12, 2021
Air ambulances or medevac services have typically been used to airlift trauma victims or critically ill patients from hill towns or places with poor access. But now, they are being increasingly employed to ferry patients across cities, wherever ICUs and oxygen is available. We hope you don’t have an occasion to use this information, but just in case, here it is:
Air ambulances in India: what affects the price
The cost of an air ambulance varies depending on the nature of the aircraft, the condition of the patient and the distance to be travelled. Plus, the level of urgency. In the current situation, demand has shot up and prices have more than doubled. Additionally, service providers now have to bear the cost of special isolation pods onboard and ground staff at airports. At the minimum, a flight will set you back by Rs75,000, but in most cases, costs will run into several lakhs.
Tips for booking an air ambulance
- While you can get your patient off the ground in as little as two hours, high demand has also resulted in a longer waitlist for bookings, so you do account for slight delays when booking. Wherever possible, book ahead to save time, money and stress.
- Dr. Rahul Singh Sardar, founding member of ICATT—an air ambulance service owned and led by doctors—recommends opting for an air ambulance only if you are sure there are no other options available and basing your selection on the quality of the medical team on board.
- It’s worth checking if your personal or corporate medical insurance covers air ambulance charges—several policies do.
Here’s a list of air ambulance services available in India right now and how to book them:
Air ambulance services in India
Owned and led by a team of doctors, the International Critical Care Air Transfer Team (ICATT) operates a fleet of four aircraft to provide emergency and non-emergency medical air transport services.
Where: The service is available pan-India, with the company based in Hyderabad and Bengaluru
Type of aircraft: Depending on the distance to be travelled and the urgency of the case, ICATT provides mid-size business jets, twin-turboprop aircraft as well as helicopters. The aircraft have a complete ICU set-up with Invasive Cardiac monitoring and ECMO machines if required. A 2-4 member team of doctors, paramedics and perfusionists accompany the patient onboard. In case the patient is COVID-19 positive, an isolation pod is deployed on the aircraft and no attendants are permitted onboard. If not, 1-2 family members can accompany the patient.
Hospital support: ICATT has tie-ups with all major hospital chains, including Narayana Hrudalaya (Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur), Apollo (Kochi, Mysore, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai), Yashoda (Hyderabad), Rainbow (Chennai) and Care Hospitals (Bhubaneswar, Nagpur, Raipur, Pune, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam).
Cost: The price ranges from Rs6 lakh to Rs18 lakh depending on the sector and condition of the patient.
How to book: Call +91-9701111156 to book an air ambulance. Activation takes about two hours, so provide as much advance notice as possible. Website
Where: Air Rescuers operates aircraft positioned in Delhi and Hyderabad to provide services in Agartala, Bhubaneshwar, Darjeeling, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kohima, Jaipur, Srinagar, Shillong, Patna, Ludhiana, Lucknow, Pondicherry, Rajkot, Varanasi, Mumbai, Mangalore and more.
Type of aircraft: Air Rescuers uses commercial jets and helicopters for transfers. The aircraft are equipped with advanced life support and ICU equipment like ventilators and defibrillators, along with isolation pods for COVID-19 positive patients. A doctor and a male nurse accompany the patient onboard. COVID-19 negative patients can have one relative with them onboard.
Hospital support: Air Rescuers has tie-ups with hospitals across the country
Cost: Prices usually start at Rs4-5 lakh, but high demand has almost doubled the cost. A charter from Raipur to Delhi, for instance, now costs about Rs10 lakh, while Delhi to Mumbai would cost between Rs14-15 lakh.
How to book: Call +91-9773331118. Website
Medanta’s Air Ambulance services
Where: Medanta works with operators to provide air ambulance services from Delhi to any place in India that has an airport or airstrip.
Type of aircraft: Fixed-wing aircraft like the KingAir B200 and Citation Excel Jet for medical evacuations. The aircraft is equipped with basic, advanced and advanced critical life support. The latter provides transfers with intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) support as well as Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support. A multidisciplinary team, including an urgent care doctor and anesthesiologist, accompany the patient. In case of a patient with cardiac issues, a non-interventional cardiologist is onboard, while a pediatrician accompanies patients who are minors. Up to two family members can accompany the patient, unless the patient is COVID-19 positive.
Hospital support: Transfers are usually made to one of Medanta’s hospitals in Delhi, Gurugram, Lucknow, Indore or Ranchi.
Cost: Depending on the distance from Delhi, the cost of the service ranges from Rs75,000 to Rs3 lakh per hour. A transfer from Dehradun or Chandigarh would cost approximately Rs3 lakh, while a transfer from any other city within 500km of Delhi would cost somewhere within Rs5 lakh. Aircraft activation usually takes about two hours.
How to book: Call the emergency number 1068 or +91-124-4141414. Website
Where: BLADE works with operators across India to facilitate aero-medical and regular charters. Unlike their regular operations that were primarily available in Maharashtra and Karnataka, their bespoke private charter service BLADE Anywhere is available pan-India
Type of aircraft: BLADE uses mid-size business jets and twin-turboprop aircraft like the Citation II Jet and King Air B200 as well as helicopters for air transfers, which can seat 4 to 8 people. In Karnataka, it uses the 5-seater Airbus HC130 for all its charters. The air ambulances are fitted with ventilators, oxygen cylinders, ICU equipment, nebulizer machines and other emergency tools, along with isolation pods for COVID-19 patients. All BLADE Charters are assigned a relationship manager who provides point-to-point virtual assistance from booking to the end of the journey. A doctor, paramedic and one relative accompany the patient on board, irrespective of whether or not they are COVID-19 positive.
Hospital support: BLADE’s transport chain is managed by MyHealthcare—a specialty healthcare ecosystem that also offers home care services, remote monitoring, diagnostics at home and doctor consultations. MyHealthcare provides the ground and clinical support for patients flying with BLADE’s air medevac aircraft.
Cost: The cost of helicopters starts at Rs1.9 lakh and goes upwards depending on the distance. Medevac service on a fixed-wing aircraft from Surat to Mumbai costs about Rs8 lakh, while one from Delhi to Mumbai costs approximately Rs15 lakhs. These amounts change depending on the availability of the aircraft and demand.
How to book: Call the BLADE Flier Relations team at 1800-102-5233, drop a DM on their Instagram or email them on [email protected]
Where: Limra offers services pan-India in any place that has an airport or airstrip, with flights usually parked at cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Type of aircraft: Limra offers charter planes like the B200, c-90 and Learjet aircraft, depending upon availability and the condition of the patient. The aircraft are fitted with advanced life support systems like an ICU, with complete portable medical equipment like a ventilator, defibrillator and suction machine. A team of 4-5 trained doctors and nursing staff provide care onboard. A COVID-19 negative patient can have 2 relatives accompany them on board. No attendants are allowed to accompany a COVID-19 positive patient.
Hospital support: Limra has tie-ups with several hospitals, including Apollo and NIMHANS
Cost: Prices vary depending on the aircraft and the distance.
How to book: Call +91-9910171998 to book an air ambulance. Planes are usually activated within two hours of booking. But due to high demand, this may take longer. Website
Apollo Hospital’s Air Ambulances
Where: The service has its hubs in Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and extends its services to smaller cities and towns like Madurai, Mysore, Kakinada, Karaikudi, Karur, Trichy and Visakhapatnam.
Type of aircraft: Apollo uses helicopters built exclusively to transfer emergency patients. All life-saving equipment is available onboard to support accident and emergency patients, including pediatric patients. Each air ambulance is manned by a medical crew trained in pre-hospital care protocols for critical patients, including physicians and paramedics specially trained for air evacuations.
Hospital support: Patients are usually transferred to the nearest Apollo Hospital (Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad)
Cost: The prices ranges from Rs1.6 lakh to Rs2 lakh per hour.
How to book: Call the Emergency Response Service on 1066. Website
Other air ambulance services you can try:
Looking for on-ground transport between cities?
If you’re struggling to find ambulance services for intra-city or inter-city travel, you can also use CoviRide—MakeMyTrip Foundation’s new peer-to-peer community platform for travel needs and medical assistance. The platform will help you find ambulances for COVID-19 patients and can even help you locate vaccination centres and drive-through oxygen centres. It can also help transfer medical equipment like oxygen cylinders, concentrators and medicines. Currently, the platform lists transport leads and sources in New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurugram, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Agra and will be expanding reach to other cities shortly.