Global Response Without Limits

Published: April 2014

Since 1985, MedAire has been assisting passengers and crews around the world, whether in the air, on land or at sea. Since becoming an International SOS company in 2008, MedAire has combined its rapid response and logistics capabilities with International SOS’ global network. The result is a medical and security offering that is totally unique in its expertise, reach and impact.

Each year, thousands of international travellers rely on MedAire’s services. The provider of choice for 75% of Fortune 100 companies, 50% of the world’s superyachts and leading airlines and aircraft manufacturers, MedAire has built a reputation for expert medical and security assistance. The company’s services include medical education training courses, the provision of kits and equipment, and the medical and logistical capabilities of its 24/7 MedLink Global Response Centres.

MedAire’s service model is built around embedded expertise linked to a wider care response network. As a core part of this model, MedAire provides in-depth training to client crew members. The idea is to equip these personnel with the knowledge and skills so they can act as ‘first responder’ in the event of an emergency. As Steven Bates, MedAire’s General Manager of Luxury Yachts, explains: “Out at sea crews and their guests may be a long way from land and medical assistance. So we train designated crew members, showing them how to react in certain situations. It may involve delivering CPR, or stabilising someone who’s ill or injured using the skills and equipment we’ve provided.”

Simultaneously, the trained crew member(s) can also put a call into, and act as primary contact for the MedLink centre:  “Our centres are staffed by emergency physicians, nurses and communications specialists,” says Steven Bates. “These medical professionals can talk the crew member through the problem at hand, and walk them through the procedures required to best treat the patient. Then, once the patient is stabilised, and depending on the severity of the situation, further action can be coordinated.”


The value of such support at sea has long been recognised by the maritime community, where MedAire provides assistance to a range of vessels, clients and organisations. “Accidents and illness at sea are common,” says Steven. “From sunstroke to jet-ski and tender boat accidents to slips and trips during rough weather, people want to know they have back-up. And that’s exactly what we provide. It’s an additional level of cover which, given that traditional response mechanisms are often too slow and locations too remote, is absolutely vital.”

As testament to its established reputation in this field, for the fourth consecutive year MedAire is acting as official medical kit supplier to the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013/14. The agreement features coverage for a fleet of 12 70-foot yachts and a course which, more than ever before, will bring safety issues to the fore. Speaking about the renewed partnership, Justin Taylor, Clipper Race Director, remarked:

“This year we have more crews than ever before competing in the race. The safety and well-being of our 650 crew members is absolutely paramount. We are therefore extremely pleased to welcome MedAire on board as our partner again.”

The acquisition by International SOS has also provided MedAire with an additional security intelligence dimension. International SOS and its joint venture partner, Control Risks, collate and disseminate extensive pre-travel information for clients the world over. Drawing on this unique capability, MedAire is now able to offer its clients – for example, companies embarking on exploration projects in Libya or the Congo – with vital pre-travel intelligence regarding medical and security risks.

“It’s another string to our bow,” says Steven Bates. “Using this intelligence, clients can plan and prepare before they set off, which means they’re less likely to be caught out by events.”


MedAire’s most recent development is a free app for flight departments designed to help assess and mitigate travel and safety risks. Launched in October 2013, MedAire Trip Ready is aimed at the business and general aviation market and provides vital pre-travel information for pilots and crews.

The app displays content based on the user’s destination, including medical and security risk ratings, and calendars of holidays or events that may impact a journey or assignment. Pilots and crew members can also use the app to view weather conditions and local time, while alerts are issued in the event of civil unrest, disease outbreak or natural disaster, along with risk mitigation advice.

“There are over 600 aviation apps on the market associated with flight planning,” says Grant Jeffery, CEO of MedAire. “We realised there was a major gap when it came to assisting crew and passengers on those flights. This app is the first of its kind focused on health and travel safety for the people on those missions.”

Already MedAire’s aviation clients have embraced this new development. The Aviation Travel Security Briefs have proved particularly successful. Indeed, VistaJet Limited, based at Malta International Airport, recently commented on their delight with the security briefing service:

“We use them on a daily basis,” says Rui Goncalves, Head of Operations Control Centre at VistaJet. “We have many sensitive operations and use the security briefs directly via the MedAire app. This process has definitely improved the efficiency of our safety protocols, and we send the briefs to crew members to keep them informed.”

Malcolm Rusby, European Safety Director at TAG Aviation, concurs: “Trip planning and travel risk management just got a whole lot easier.”

And with the Trip Ready app dovetailing with the company’s extensive range of services, MedAire looks set to continue delivering an unrivalled medical and security package. As Rui Goncalves concludes:

“In addition to the app, a while ago we had a crew member who was at risk of disease and infection following a bite from an insect in Africa. MedAire gave us medical assistance and we followed their advice on where to go and which hospital to use. It’s a really great service all round.”