The global air ambulance market size was valued at USD 5.50 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 12.97 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 10% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The Air ambulances, as the name suggests, are aerial vehicles outfitted with medical devices and manned with trained medical crew. They are used to rescue patients during emergencies as well as transport critical patients between medical facilities. While air ambulances are used to transfer trauma patients, their accessibility in retrieving patients from remote locations is undeniably their biggest advantage. The increasing prevalence of road accidents, military rescue and aid operations, rescue operations on the sea and in remote areas, and demand for emergency healthcare services drive the air ambulance market. But it is anticipated that the market for air ambulance services will grow slowly due to a lack of healthcare infrastructure and an insufficient number of aircraft in underdeveloped nations. Government regulations and rigorous procedures have put a strain on healthcare facilities.
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While a number of factors contribute to the growth of the air ambulance market, the growing geriatric population remains one of the key forces behind the growing demand. According to the United Nations (U.N.), the population aged 65 years and above is expanding faster than any other age group globally. As per the U.N.'s World Population Prospects: the 2019 Revision, for the first time ever, the population aged 65 years and above grew larger than the population of children under five years of age. The rapidly expanding aging demographic is accelerating demand for better medical facilities and services, including air ambulances.
Insurance Providers Adding Air Ambulances in Their Listing
The market is slated to register more widespread adoption as insurance providers continue to expand their coverage, bringing air ambulances into the fold. Government and private providers alike are offering favorable reimbursements, and this scenario will bolster market growth in the coming years. Without insurance, air ambulance services – with their steep prices – will stay far beyond the reach of a majority of the global population.
An air ambulance is significantly more expensive than a ground ambulance. Although government and private health insurance in developed nations pay for air ambulance services, the reimbursement rate is minimal when compared to what the air medical service providers charge. The high price of the air ambulance service serves as a roadblock to industry growth. The cost of air ambulance transportation has increased dramatically by more than 60% in the last five years. Up to 72% of flown patients could encounter an unexpected out-of-network bill, according to a recent study published in the May 2020 issue of Health Affairs. An air ambulance company's median price for helicopter transport is $36,400, while their median price for a plane flight is $40,600, according to a 2019 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The level of care given to patients being transported has significantly improved because of technological advancements and the use of advanced, innovative medical equipment. Modern communications technologies enable the delivery of real-time patient health data to the hospital, enabling the medical staff to plan ahead for emergencies. Critical care tools, including a ventilator, heart monitor, and defibrillator, are included in air ambulances so that patients can receive emergency medical care. Technological advancements can also bring down the cost of air ambulances.
Based on Type, the global air ambulance market is divided into rotary-wing and fixed-wing air ambulances.
The rotary wing air ambulance segment dominates the market. Rotary wing air ambulances typically refer to helicopters and are employed to transport patients over short distances, such as from the accident scene to the hospital or between two different hospitals or facilities. More often, these ambulances are used as a substitute for ground ambulances. They are helpful in instances when it would be challenging for a ground ambulance to get to the patient because of their capacity to land almost anywhere. Among the two types of air ambulances, rotary wing captures a larger share of the market., Helicopters accounted for a little over 74% of all air ambulances. The Association of Air Medical Services United States estimates that the U.S. MedEvac industry completes nearly 400,000 rotor-wing transports annually and fixed-wing aircraft fly an additional 150,000 patients.
On the other hand, fixed-wing air ambulances are used to commute long distances, such as interhospital transports, and only fly between airports. A fixed-wing aircraft is one that has wings that do not move and is propelled by a jet engine or a propeller. Due to their ability to travel further without refueling, these are more frequently utilized for longer trips than rotary-wing aircraft. Fixed-wing air ambulances have the advantage of being able to fly in bad weather, such as fog, which rotary-wing aircraft cannot. When a patient needs to be transported from one hospital to another, this causes fewer delays.
Based on the Application, air ambulance services can be categorized into community-based services and hospital-based services.
Hospital-based services account for a larger market share throughout the forecast period. Hospital-based service is where a hospital manages the business by providing medical services and personnel and hiring pilots, mechanics, and aircraft on a contract basis.
In the community-based services model, the aviation operator owns the ambulance, directly engages pilots and mechanics, contracts medical direction, flight nurses, and paramedics, and deals with patient billing. Operators provide services through partnerships with community health organizations, and private players and services may be profit-based or non-profit.
The market is segmented into four geographical regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa (LAMEA).
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North America dominates the global air ambulance market. The presence of an adequate infrastructure-defined regulatory framework and favorable reimbursement policies contribute to the region's eminent market position. The emphasis on healthcare across the region remains intense and will only increase in years to come; thus, future growth prospects for North America's air ambulance market are pegged to remain positive during the forecast period. Exponential growth in the number of medical bases across the U.S. is accelerating the demand for air ambulances in a bid to improve the square mile coverage and access to medical services. In the U.S., population coverage within a 15–20-minute response area grew from 71.2% in 2003 to 86.4% in 2016, as per the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS).
Europe follows North America in terms of value share in the global air ambulance market. The market for air ambulance services is anticipated to expand as a result of rising healthcare spending in Europe. Across Europe, healthcare services vary as per geographical coverage, population density, and government policies. Rising prosperity in developing countries and austerity-driven privatization in developed countries drive the demand for air ambulances in the region. The demand for air ambulance services has increased due to the rising prevalence of diseases like diabetes, heart conditions, and cancer, among other chronic ailments. The prevalence of these diseases is rising as a result of factors like the adoption of unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, alcohol and cigarette use, and physical inactivity. Importantly, several European insurance companies have listed air ambulances in recent years, which will definitely bolster their uptake in years to come.
Air ambulance services are also gaining momentum in Asia-Pacific, where the market is flourishing against a backdrop of favorable airspace regulations, infrastructure development, and aggressive investment initiatives. Rapid technical improvements in air ambulance services and an increase in the need for air medical services due to an increase in the rates of trauma, stroke, and heart attacks have contributed to the market's expansion in the region. Government support and relaxation in airspace restrictions particularly foster the market growth in the region; for instance, the China State Council opened airspace below 3,000 meters for the general aviation industry in 2016, radically multiplying the heights and routes that air ambulances in the country can use.
In the Middle East, the demand for healthcare services is fueled by the increase in private specialty hospital construction as well as the spread of healthcare services in outlying areas. In the Middle East, the UAE has the most economically developed and diverse market. Because the great majority of the UAE is located in the desert, air transportation services are needed to reach remote locations quickly. There have been increasing requests from air ambulance firms for accreditation as a result of the expansion of business travel and foreign markets in some regions of Latin America.
Some of the key players in the global air ambulance market are
May 2022- The establishment of AirLift Texas, a new base in Weslaco, Texas, will enable Air Methods, the top air medical service provider in the U.S., to offer emergency air medical services to the city and neighboring Rio Grande Valley cities. By opening the base, emergency and trauma situations will receive faster responses, and patients in need of specialist care will be transported between facilities.
September 2021- Blade Air Mobility acquired an organ-transporting company in Arizona for USD 23 million. The purchase, according to the firms, will become the largest specialized organ air transport provider in the United States.
|Market Size||USD in 12.97 billion By 2030|
|Forecast Units||Value (USD Billion)|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
|Segments Covered||by Type (Fixed Wing, Rotary Wing), Application (Hospital-Based, Community-Based)|
|Geographies Covered||North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, LAME and Rest of the World|
|Key Companies Profiled/Vendors||American Medical Response, Inc. (AMR), PHI Air Medical, Babcock Scandinavian Air Ambulance (SAA), IAS Medical, Express Air Medical Transport, LLC, Air Methods, Lifeguard Ambulance Service LLC, REVA, Inc., Acadian Air Med.,|
|Key Market Opportunities||Technological Development|