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How many Air Ambulances are there in the UK

Its quite interesting to know how many air ambulances service the whole population of the UK, but you'll be surprised just how few do.

As it stands, there are 44 air ambulances across the UK, covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of those 44, just 7 types of helicopters are in use, represented by 23 UK air ambulance charities. To break that down; England has 33, Scotland with 3, Wales 4, and Northern Ireland with just the 2.

So with the forty-four air ambulances' servicing more than 66 million people in the UK, only 7 types of helicopters are in use.

While not all counties in the UK have there own air ambulance; all emergencies can be reached within 10 to 20 minutes of a call out.

In the few counties in England who have there own helicopter - much like London - its because there is a more concentration of people in the area.

Helicopter in use

You got the number of current operational air ambulance helicopters in the UK; so let's break that down to helicopter type in use.

Of the 44 helicopters in service, 14 of those are the Airbus H135, followed by the Airbus H145 - so therefore Airbus wins the prize as the most reliable air ambulance.

That also goes for the three Airbus AS365 helicopters in operation.

That is followed by two different Leonardo models in the AW169 and AW109SP.

Remaining helicopter models in the list of UK air ambulances are that of Bell and MD respectively.

Air ambulance charities do there due diligence on the model in use; so size is important, but so is reliability, cost to run and performance.

So as the current front runner in the air ambulance in use is the Airbus H135, you can be sure that is the most effective, most reliable helicopter of them all.

Helicopter Models: 7 No. in Use: 44 No. of Charities: 23
Airbus H145 10 5
Leonardo AW169 8 6
MD 902 6 4
Airbus H135 14 9
Airbus AS365 3 1
Leonardo AW109SP 2 1
Bell 429 1 1

England Air Ambulance Services

Of England's 48 counties, just 33 air ambulances are in service covering all corners of the country.

As England is much larger than all nations within the UK, it is normal to see more service helicopters in use.

On average, 2 or 3 air ambulances will cover up to three to four counties wide; with the option to move into space where they don't normal operate.

What I have witness over the years when an air ambulance as landed near me; so as its the Midlands Air Ambulance service, Il see the Airbus H145.

Four to cover Wales

While Wales in itself has a large concentration of open, rural land; there are only 4 Welsh air ambulances covering eight counties.

Of the four helicopters in use, three are the Airbus H145 well the Airbus H135 has one model in operation.

All four helicopters will serve over 3 million people in Wales, compared to 33 choppers that serve over 55 million in England.

Air ambulances serving in Wales do not cross over the English border very often unless in a national emergency.

Three Scottish Air Ambulances

Despite a larger population of 5 plus million people in Scotland than Wales, they operate one air ambulance less than Wales, with three helicopters in use.

Concentration of the population in Scotland is in a more dense area, unlike Wales where people are spread out - while more in the south - to a large population living in North Wales.

Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance operate one Airbus H135, well the Scottish Air Ambulance have two Airbus H145 in service.

If you haven't seen it already, the Scottish Air Ambulance service operate out of a busy city heliport hub, as well as out of Glasgow airport.

Northern Ireland Air Ambulance

Northern Ireland with the smallest population in the UK have two air ambulances in service, operated by the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance charity.

With a population of 1.8 million, the people are served with just 2 helicopters; that is the Airbus H135.

As the people of Northern Ireland are concentrated in a much smaller, dense area to anywhere else in the UK, its very normal to see only two operational air ambulances.

Northern Ireland have six counties with their two air ambulances in services.

Charities covering all regions

If we take a look at air ambulances covering the whole of England, you'll notice a single charity will cover up to four or five neighbouring counties.

Only do up to three charities in England have a single air ambulance to themselves.

Where all other counties will not necessarily have there own air ambulance, so it relies on the helicopter flying in out of county.

Not so with Wales or Northern Ireland as one charity is in operation for all counties.

Scotland, with the second biggest population in the UK have two air ambulance charities servicing a region, and therefore different counties in the country.

Organisation: Region: Model: Fleet:
Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex Kent, Surrey, Sussex Leonardo AW169 (2), MD 902 (1) 3
Cornwall Air Ambulance Cornwall MD 902 (2) 2
Children's Air Ambulance Nationwide Leonardo AW169 (2) 2
Devon Air Ambulance Devon Airbus H135 (2) 2
Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Dorset, Somerset Leonardo AW169 (1) 1
East Anglian Air Ambulance East Anglia Airbus H145 (2) 2
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Essex, Herfordshire Leonardo AW169 (1), MD 902 (1) 2
Great North Air Ambulance Cumbria, North Yorkshire, North East Airbus AS365 Dauphin (3) 3
Great Western Air Ambulance Bristol, North Somerset, Bath, North East Somerset, Gloucestershire Airbus H135 (1) 1
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Hampshire and Isle of Wight Airbus H135 (1) 1
Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire Leonardo AW169 (1) 1
London's Air Ambulance London MD 902 (2) 2
Magpas Air Ambulance East of England Leonardo AW169 (1) 1
Midlands Air Ambulance Midlands Airbus H145 (1) Airbus H135 (2) 3
Northern Ireland Air Ambulance Northern Ireland Airbus H135 (2) 2
North West Air Ambulance Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside Airbus H135 (3) 3
Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance Scotland Airbus H135 (1) 1
Scottish Air Ambulance Scotland Airbus H145 (2) 2
The Air Ambulance Service Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Warwickshireshire, Northamptonshire Leonardo AW109SP (2) 2
Thames Valley Air Ambulance Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Airbus H135 (1) 1
Wales Air Ambulance Wales Airbus H145 (3), Airbus H135 (1) 4
Wiltshire Air Ambulance Wiltshire & Nearby Counties Bell 429 (1) 1
Yorkshire Air Ambulance Yorkshire and the Humber Airbus H145 (2) 2


With the UK's population standing at over 66 million, its hard to believe that only 44 air ambulances cover the whole country.

Of those 44 air ambulances currently in service; only seven types of air ambulance helicopters have been selected for the job of a mobile air hospital.

England has the highest population by a country mile, so have 33 air ambulances covering all counties.

Whereas Scotland with its 5.4 million population have only the three air ambulances with two charities in operation.

Wales do have a smaller population but do have more air ambulances in operation, with Northern Ireland's two helicopters in action.

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