On July 11, Kim Kyung-soo, governor of Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang Province), visited the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and promised to support the development of the aerospace industry, a key industrial sector in the province.
The Korea Aerospace Industries briefed to Gov. Kim about the progress of the construction of the Sacheon-Yongdang site for the aviation MRO (maintenance, repair and overhead) project. KAI suggested that efforts should be stepped up to expand the infrastructure of local governments and strengthen the competitiveness of small businesses. In this regard, KAI called for establishing a win-win model among local governments, KAI and small and medium-sized companies and creation a “smart town” to improve housing conditions.
While briefing about the progress of the Gyeonggi-do Doctor Helicopter Project, which signed a contract with Ajou University Hospital in May, KAI called for early opening of Gyeongsangnam-do Trauma Center and the introduction of a Doctor Helicopter. The Doctor Helicopter is a helicopter that can quickly transfer emergency patients from vulnerable areas in emergency medical care, while at the same time providing first aid treatment.
In response, Gov. Kim said that the provincial government is weighing multiple options to speed up the development of aerospace industry in Gyeongsangnam-do. The governor also said he will fully examine the possibility of early introduction of a Doctor Helicopter who will be dedicated to protecting the lives of residents of Gyeongsangnam-do.
Gov. Kim inspected the A350 wing structure plant that adopted artificial intelligence technology, a key part of the fourth industrial revolution, and the final assembly plant of the T-50 and Surion, which are seeking to export it abroad as well as boosting domestic sales.
Meanwhile, KAI held a painting event for the Doctor Helicopter, which will be operated in Gyeonggi Province soon. The event was attended by then-KAI President Kim Jo-won and Gov. Kim Kyung-soo, as well as officials from related agencies, such as Ajou University Hospital, Gyeonggi Province, Sacheon City and the Navy.
In February, Gyeonggi Province’s Doctor Helicopter engraved ATLAS, a call sign for the late professor Yun Han-deok, head of the state-run National Medical Center’s Emergency Medical Center, who died in February this year. The pilot and mechanic training will be completed and deployed to Ajou University Hospital in late August. The painting and remodeling of a Doctor Helicopter, which will be in use for Gyeonggi Province, now gets underway.
Professor Lee Kuk-jong of Ajou University Hospital's Trauma Center said, "The operation of a 24-hour doctor's helicopter is not an option, but a necessity. I hope it will be expanded nationwide following the wishes of the late professor Yun Han-deok, who died while standing by patients in order to prevent medical vacuum."
Recognizing the urgent need of the Doctor Helicopter, KAI decided to participate in the project for the development of the domestic aerospace industry through the expansion of the use of domestic helicopters. KAI will use two helicopters to support emergency medical activities around the clock, and will replace them with Surion, a homegrown helicopter with superior performance, after 2020 to help protect the lives of the people.
Then-KAI President Kim Jo-won said: "We promise support for stable operation to protect the lives of the people 24 hours a day, 365 days a week through collaboration with Ajou University Hospital.” "We hope Gyeongsangnam-do will provide active support to help develop the aerospace industry to contribute to enhancing the safety of the people and economic revival of the country."