Though the coronavirus pandemic has slowed the number of
calls that air medical transport company Medjet has received, it did not stop them
Thus far in 2020, Medjet has transported victims of skiing
accidents, motorcycle accidents, pneumonia and more. The evacuations range from
the minor -- a ground ambulance transfer from western North Carolina to the
central area of the state, which would have cost the member $2,495 out of
pocket -- to the major -- an air ambulance from Fiji to
California that would have cost $103,488.
Medjet membership will provide medical transport to the ill
or injured party’s hospital of choice if they are hospitalized more than 150
miles from home. Annual memberships for individuals traveling internationally and
domestically start at $295. Short-term memberships start at $99.
John Gobbels, Medjet vice president and COO, said January
and February were growth months for Medjet with a busy transportation
department, but things started to slow down in March as the coronavirus spread
around the world.
While Gobbels couldn’t release the typical number of
transports Medjet conducts in an average year due to confidentiality agreements
with transport partners, he did say the company typically has eight to 10
members requiring hospitalization every day.
When the State Department advised all U.S. citizens to avoid
international travel with a Level 4 advisory in mid-March, Gobbels said, travel
became much more difficult logistically, and calls to Medjet slowed.
“They unfortunately still kept coming, albeit at a lower
rate,” Gobbels said.
Those calls were typically from those traveling domestically
or American expats.
“One thing that’s important to remember is that all the
things that were out there prior to Covid-19 are still out there -- heart
attacks and strokes and slip-and-falls and automobile accidents,” he said. “None
of that has gone away just because there’s Covid. So that’s really what we saw,
are people that still required and needed our services even during the Covid
The biggest issue Medjet has faced throughout the pandemic
has been time, Gobbels said. In some cases, it has been difficult to relocate
crew members and pilots for transport missions with lesser access to commercial
Medjet is starting to see some signs of recovery for the
travel industry. According to Gobbels, the company has seen an uptick in
corporate inquiries about membership, especially among small- to medium-sized
businesses, as well as existing customers giving memberships to additional
Additionally, its consortia partners are also reporting
upticks in bookings.
“There’s great hope that people are gaining more confidence
in leisure travel,” he said.