Medical & Security Evacuations - Air Ambulance & Commercial Carrier

Life-saving evacuations, despite the complexity of COVID-19 restrictions

International SOS has over 35 years of experience and expertise in transporting patients with a wide range of medical conditions, including infectious disease,  no matter where they are. We provide medical transportation via:

  • Air ambulance with ICU equipment
  • Air ambulance with Portable Medical Isolation Unit
  • Commercial aircraft with stretcher onboard
  • Commercial aircraft with medical escort accompanying patients


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been at the forefront of supporting people who needed to be evacuated or repatriated. Our global operations infrastructure combined with specialist expertise ensures our clients receive the most cost-effective evacuation solutions executed at the highest quality.

During the pandemic, we have:

  • Managed 750 air ambulance movements for COVID-19 patients & other patients
  • Co-ordinated 32 charter flights with over 2,000 passengers
  • Moved 175 COVID-19 symptomatic patients

Evacuations Managed by International SOS in 2020

Unsurpassed medevac support

The best way to ensure that your people stay healthy and safe is to establish robust preventive programmes, designed specifically for the environments they are in. A key component of prevention and Duty of Care is preparing for the rare instance when prevention is not possible. Having a safe and rapid evacuation plan from high-risk environments is essential to save life or limb. 


Our Workforce Resilience service provides you with access to an unsurpassed aviation service quality. Our specialist expertise combined with a global operations infrastructure ensures the most cost-effective evacuation solutions to be achieved without compromising quality.


Medevac from Tianjin tarmac

Our team manages the safety & quality of the mission through external and internal assessment standards and processes.


Why is this so important to find the right evacuation provider?

There is a significant variety of aviation and aeromedical standards across the globe. Evacuations often entail accessing both poorly regulated and resourced aviation environments, introducing potential risks. A comprehensive credentialing and accreditation programme is essential to mitigate these risks. Example risks include: 
  • Operators working with inadequate medical indemnity insurance or accident liability coverage.
  • Operators with non-compliant aviation practices and a history of significant aircraft incidents.
  • Operators without valid certification for air ambulance work.
  • Inadequate medical equipment and medications or unsafe medical equipment fittings.


Medevac Tianjin Air Ambulance team and patient

The International SOS difference

1- Internal ISO medical transportation quality standards

International SOS has established ISO certified medical transportation evaluation standards for both scheduled airline and air ambulance transports. Our cases are compliant with these and audited.


We also use our ISO certified regional flight desks to coordinate the medevac:

  • Manage & coordinate all logistics involved in missions, supported by specialist aviation managers and operation coordinators, security experts and doctors specifically trained in aeromedicine.
  • Enable a rapid response in evacuating your employees with life-threatening conditions often from austere medical environments where speed can be life-saving.
  • Maintain close relationships with scheduled airlines and their medical departments enabling rapid medical clearance of patients to travel on scheduled flights with our medical staff and equipment when appropriate, saving time and cost to access care. 

2- Highly specialised international medical evacuation and repatriation

We are highly experienced in undertaking complex medical transports. We evacuate across international boundaries where specialist expertise and in-flight equipment is paramount: Neonatal, obstetric, infectious diseases, artificial hearts amongst many others.

Our global team of aviation specialists:

  • Ensure providers meet and maintain our strict service standards.
  • Audit our providers' operations in-country at regular intervals.
  • Continuously build local and regional capabilities.
  • Constant oversight & control from operational, medical and aviation standpoints.
  • Ensure the most cost-effective solutions without compromising quality.


3- 24/7 integrated assistance from the ground to air to sea, and from bed-to-bed, in your preferred language

In addition to our multi-lingual Assistance Centres that operate 24/7, we maintain a global network of providers that are continuously assessed based on our strict service standards: hospitals, doctors, security specialists, ambulances, travel assistance and more. Due to this strong eco-system, we can quickly assemble a team of appropriate specialists (e.g. flight doctor, nurse, commercial medical escort, security advisor) and the necessary health and immigration authorisations. 


Medevac on oil rig Myanmar 



  • The Challenge: Sonny, an international assignee in Athens, was paralysed from neck down due to a bad fall. He needed to be repatriated to Singapore for rehabilitation, but it was at the start of the COVID-19 crisis and borders were closing. Flights were very limited and those that operated were subject to regular cancellation.
  • How we Helped: International SOS assisted in sourcing available commercial flights, provided medical escorts to accompany Sonny, and obtained a medical clearance from the airline. We coordinated with various stakeholders in Singapore to ensure proper care on arrival and arranged for the required COVID-19 tests for entry.
  • The Impact: Sonny's family and his company was kept informed of every step throughout the process. We also arranged for Sonny's brother to enter Singapore to support him and he was able to continue his rehabilitation safely. 


  • The Challenge: An offshore driller, Ravi, had a cardiac condition on a rig offshore of Kakinada, India, and needed urgent evacuation. Landing permissions for air transportation were a challenge due to the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown and required additional approvals from Civil Aviation Authority and local district magistrate.
  • How We Helped: The onsite medic consulted our International SOS doctors via our Assistance Center and we could arrange with the company for Ravi's disembarkation to a nearby port via helicopter. We then organised a ground ambulance and admission to a local hospital for stabilisation. In parallel, we coordinated with local authorities for the required approvals to evacuate Ravi on an air ambulance to the nearest national centre of medical excellence in New Delhi for a cardiac procedure.
  • The Impact: Our team helped for a timely and accurate diagnosis. With our network of trusted providers, we could smoothen the approval process for the evacuation and ensured Ravi's appropriate care. His company was kept informed and, thanks to our support, could continue their core operations while ensuring Ravi received the best possible care.