Tom Hedderson and Jerome Kennedy, Horourable Ministers of Transportation and Health respectively, were on hand to introduce the new and improved Beechcraft King Air 350 air ambulance in St. John’s today.

The major improvement over it’s 21-year-old predecessor, apart from updated systems and navigation equipment, is a bigger door. “[It] allows us easier access to get stretchers in and out, and we can accommodate the stretchers and the size of the patient much easier than we did before,” said Minister Hedderson.

That, and a new car smell.

Top-of-the-line aircraft or not, the province is still having trouble recruiting qualified personnel for the medical flight team in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. One applicant out of the last 32 passed the necessary requirements, and the positions will be advertised again. Twelve members are needed to make a flight team.

“We’re looking at other options,” said Minister Kennedy. “We’ll also look at rotating people in from St. John’s.”