René Closter (Luxembourg Air Rescue): Global rescue service
René Closter, President of Luxembourg Air Rescue, describes Lar's Mission and the important partnerships developed with other organisations.
Can you present LAR in a few words?
Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR) is a non-proﬁt organisation, which for over 30 years has been devoted to saving lives and preserving people’s health by operating rescue helicopters and air ambulances in Luxembourg, the Greater Region and around the world. With our subsidiary Luxembourg Air Ambulance (LAA) we have a ﬂeet of six MD-902 helicopters and six state-of-the-art ambulance jets. We are operating 24/7, 365 days and complete more than 3,000 missions a year – all the while guaranteeing the highest safety and quality standards. In terms of members, we are the largest association in Luxembourg. Without the loyal support of our 184,000 members we would be unable to realise our vision. As a token of gratitude, we offer our members free repatriation from abroad in the event of a medical emergency. We are very proud to have been named the best worldwide air ambulance provider of 2016, out of 800 participants.
What types of partnerships do you have with other Luxembourg and international organisations?
Since 1991, we are part of the Luxembourgish rescue service SAMU. Every point of the country can be reached by our rescue helicopters in 10 minutes maximum, bringing often vital medical support. We have also had a cross-border collaboration with Germany for many years: one of our helicopters is dedicated to missions in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland and ﬂies over 1,000 missions per year. Our ultra-modern medical training centre offers the chance to train in simulated real-life rescue scenarios and is not only used by our staff, but also by many national and international customers. It is probably the only one of its kind in the world.
We also operate the Luxembourg Police helicopter. Having become one of the key players in the medical repatriation ﬁeld, we offer intensive-care aircraft missions around the world, using our own state-of-the art medical ﬂeet. This is done not only for members, but also for insurance companies and other organisations. In recent years, we have ﬂown more than 1,100 times around the world, equivalent to over 44 million km! We hold the exclusive contract for delivery of organ transplants for the whole of France – excluding Paris. More than 1,600 missions requests per year are managed by our Control Centre in Luxembourg. This contract was recently renewed for a further ﬁve years, conﬁrming the conﬁdence of the French government in the services of LAR-group. In addition, LAR acts as an ofﬁcial partner to the UN and NATO, in close collaboration with the Luxembourg Ministry of Cooperation and Humanitarian Action as well as the European Commission. In recent years, LAR has played a crucial role in the EU Frontex migrant crisis mission on behalf of the Luxembourg government.
How do you see Luxembourg Air Rescue developing in the next 5 years?
We set a very high standard of quality which very few organisations around the world can match. LAR is a team of 180 remarkable professionals and I am proud to say they make the difference. I am conﬁdent that we will succeed in further establishing ourselves as a top-ranked rescue, emergency medical aid and humanitarian relief organisation, and as an exemplar of European and international collaboration – at its most effective.
We will continue to expand our activities in a sustainable way. As we continue to grow, we must constantly strive to meet the ever more exacting professional standards set in the ﬁelds of medicine and avionics. Just as vital, we will remain as passionate about our life-saving work as we were when we started in 1988. That passion has driven our success. We will keep that spirit alive.