Wales Air Ambulance bases under threat of closure to stay open until 'at least 2026'
Two of Wales Air Ambulance's bases have had their short-term future confirmed, postponing the threat of closure.
The Wales Air Ambulance Charity has confirmed it has extended its contracts with both Caernarfon and Welshpool airports.
The bases will continue to be used until at least 2026.
Dr Sue Barnes, the charity's chief executive, said that their aim is to "protect services for the people of Wales while continually seeking improvements in service and availability".
The announcement has been welcomed by Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Jane Dodds, who said it offered "at least a temporary respite from potential closure".
Ms Dodds, who represents the constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire in the Senedd (Welsh parliament), said: "As so many have already said the campaign is not over and at this point, I would like to pay tribute to all of those who have campaigned to protect this vital service so far.
"I like many will now be awaiting the details of the long-promised community engagement process which is due to start next month."
The announcement comes as the charity announced Gama Aviation Plc as its new aviation partner in a £65m contract which will last seven years.
Gama Aviation won the contract after an 18-month procurement process, according to the charity's trustees.
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Dr Barnes said: "Proposed service improvements are the subject of a public engagement led by the chief ambulance services commissioner, to which we will contribute via an independent submission.
"However, time is moving on and with Gama Aviation taking over on 1 January 2024, pragmatic decisions have had to be taken.
"Given the need to ensure continuity of service and mindful of the need to give our airbase landlords some commercial certainty, we will commence our new aviation contact with our current four-base model.
"This will allow the commissioner to conclude the process while allowing us to protect our lifesaving service."