The market size for global air ambulance services was worth USD 3.7 billion in 2016 which is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of more than 9.3% during the forecast period. The factors contributing to the growth of the market are increasing the prevalence of chronic diseases, for instance, cardiac disorders which need an emergency medical response, accessibility of reimbursement policies, rising per capita healthcare expenditure and improvement of medical infrastructure in entertainment & sports industry.
An exponential rise in the per capita healthcare spending is observed worldwide in the past twenty years. According to the statistics given by The World Bank Group, in 1996, the per capita healthcare expenditure was approximately USD 467.6 and this figure raised exponentially to USD 1,060.9 in 2014. The 55.0% growth in per capita healthcare spending can be associated with better access to quality care, better economic conditions, and rising awareness amongst the population. These factors also contribute towards a rise in demand for air ambulance services in the last five years.
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The air ambulance service operators, particularly in developing nations, are offering a wide spectrum to air ambulance services to leverage the increasing demand. Additionally, increase in the number of service providers has intensified the competition in this market. For instance, there exist more than 1,300 aircrafts provided by 300 air ambulance operators, cumulatively, in the U.S.
The incidence of chronic disorders which require an emergency response, for instance, cardiovascular conditions, are increasing at alarming rate. According to a report published by the WHO, cardiovascular diseases contributed to the highest number of total global fatalities. In 2012, 17.5 million deaths translating to 31.0% of the global deaths occurred due to cardiovascular disorders. Air ambulances are highly useful in life-threatening conditions and therefore, these services have continued to hold a steady demand in spite of being expensive.
Developed economies, for instance, the U.S., provide reimbursement policies which enable the air ambulance service providers to overcome the issues related to high service prices and helped the market grow at a remunerative rate. The Government of Accountability Office (GAO) published statistics which say that Medicaid and Medicare payments contributed to approximately 12.0% and 30.0% of market revenue correspondingly whereas private insurers contributed to nearly 50.0% of market revenue. The air ambulance services are expensive, therefore, out of pocket payments are infrequent.
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Based on the type, the global air ambulance market is segmented into fixed wing services and rotary wing services. The rotary wing services, involving helicopter based air medical transport, held more than 68.0% of market share in 2016. These services are used for medical transfer of patients for shorter distances. Additionally, helicopters can easily land on streets, rooftops, and ground thereby increasing the accessibility of these services.
Fixed-wing services refer to aircraft equipped with medical instruments and a medical crew. These services are used to transfer patients to longer distances. These aircrafts are most commonly business jets or private jets modified to accommodate medical equipment and crew.
Service Model Insights
Based on the service model, the global air ambulance market is segmented into hospital-based and community-based services. Hospital-based services held the largest share in 2016 and are projected to grow at a lucrative rate during the forecast period. A majority of hospitals in developed nations provide these services wherein the medical crew is supplied by hospitals in emergency response situations.
Community-based services operate owing donations provided by businesses or public in general. These services function by partnering with community health centers or private players. For instance, in the U.S., Air Methods provides a variety of community-based services such as Air Idaho Rescue in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
North America dominated global air ambulance market in 2016. Availability of the supportive air medical transport infrastructure, the presence of reimbursement plans, and the local existence of a large number of air ambulance operators has fueled the growth of the market in this region.
On the other hand, Asia Pacific is expected to grow at a lucrative rate of more than 11.0% over the forecast period. The economic conditions in this region are improving and countries like China and India are leading countries on global investments. Accessibility of large labor pool and affordable services are promoting many multinational companies to invest in this region. Many multinational business conglomerates provide air ambulance services as safety protocol component.
The global air ambulance market consists of many key players such as PHI Air Medical, Native American Air Ambulance, Acadian, Lifeguard Air Ambulance, Express AirMed Transport, REVA Air Ambulance, IAS Medical, AMR, and Scandinavian Air Ambulance.
These market players undertake various strategic initiatives such as collaborations, service portfolio expansion and partnerships with entertainment events, sports events, and business firms. For instance, in January 2016, REVA launched a new operations base in Schenectady, New York. The new base allows REVA to provide rapid response to medical requirements in Europe and abroad. The new base also opened new opportunities with insurers and other leading facilities in Northeast region.