AN aviation firm that provided air ambulance services in Somerset has been saved from administration.

Specialist Aviation Service supplied helicopters and pilots for Dorset and Somerset, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, Essex and Herts, East of England and London.

The company, which supported more than 5,000 ambulance flights last year, had sustained operating losses for several years and needed to source new funding.

The Gloucestershire Airport-based firm hired administrators from advisory firm FRP yesterday (Wednesday, January 31) after failing to secure solvent sales.

Today (Thursday, February 1) its assets were sold to Gama Aviation, an aviation specialist headquartered in Farnborough, Hampshire.

All of its 184 staff except for two are transferring to Gama Aviation under the deal.

Andrew Sheridan, partner at FRP and joint administrator of Specialist Aviation Services, said: “This was a complex transaction in the heavily regulated aviation sector and key parties included aircraft financiers, global OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), overseas government contracts and of course the air ambulance charities.

“Without the support of the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), who mobilised a senior team and worked at speed, this transaction could not have happened and we wish to extend our gratitude to them, as well as to the company’s senior management team.

“The goal from the outset of our involvement was to ensure that the vital air ambulance operations continued without disruption, which they did.

“We take great satisfaction in ensuring that lives continued to be saved throughout the process and wish Gama and its newly acquired operations, highly skilled operatives and pilots, every success in the future.”