Rega news dated 26.05.2012
An article published in the Handelszeitung newspaper on Thursday, 3 May 2012 sparked lively discussion in the media regarding so-called “contract flights” performed by Rega. In its letter dated 24 May 2012, the Eidgenössiche Stiftungsaufsicht fully exonerates Rega from all the allegations made by the Handelszeitung.
An article published in the Handelszeitung on 3 May 2012 prompted Switzerland’s official body responsible for supervising foundations, the Eidgenössische Stiftungsaufsicht (ESA), on 8 May 2012 to request from Rega an official response to the “topic in question in general” and the allegations by a journalist from the Handelszeitung of having “artificially enhanced the profit and loss account” in particular. Here the ESA was referring to the allegations by the Handelzeitung that Rega had artificially enhanced its profit and loss account by reducing the annual depreciation on its helicopter fleet. The Handelszeitung subsequently retracted this allegation in a correcting statement published in its issue of 10 May 2012.
In a letter received by Rega today, the ESA confirmed that “the international flights in question concern standard patient transport operations and fully concur with the purpose of the Foundation and its other statutory regulations”.
In addition, the ESA writes that it has noted the fact that the Handelszeitung has admitted its claim that Rega had “artificially enhanced the profit and loss account” to be totally unjustified, and continues: “As a resolution to adjust the depreciation method was already taken by the competent Foundation body on 2 July 2010, here, too, we see no reason for the ESA to take action of any kind”.
Rega notes this statement from the Eidgenössiche Stiftungsaufsicht with satisfaction.
Handelszeitung corrects false statements
The original newspaper article published on Thursday, 3 May 2012 contained several statements that are false and portray Rega in a bad light, which prompted Rega to intervene at the Handelszeitung.
In its issue of 10 May 2012, the Handelszeitung subsequently revised a number of its statements. The original article reported that Rega had sourced new activities in response to the new medical transport and repatriation services provided by its rival company, AAA. Furthermore, it claimed that Rega had artificially enhanced its profit and loss account in that it had reduced the annual depreciation on its helicopter fleet by extending the service life of the aircraft.
In its correcting statement, the Handelszeitung now admits that this portrayal is false: "The extension of the service life is not connected in any way with a targeted optimisation of the profit and loss account or with AAA's market presence. This measure has led to savings totalling 9 million Swiss francs and not, as reported, 9,000 Swiss francs. In 2011, the annual result increased by 12 million Swiss francs, not 12,000 Swiss francs."
Rega welcomes the move by the Handelszeitung to correct these false statements. However, it regrets that the Handelszeitung has at the same time not felt it necessary to apologise for these factual errors.
Rega's official statement
Rega also repatriates members of the armed forces on request and on behalf of international insurance companies if such flights are medically indicated. In these cases, too, Rega always acts in accordance with the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross. The flights that we carry out are humanitarian missions. Rega does not differentiate between civilians and soldiers; for Rega, there are only patients. These also include people in uniform.
These repatriation missions are not financed by patrons' contributions; in fact, quite the opposite is true. As these operations concern flights that have been contracted in return for payment, the costs incurred by Rega are covered. In addition, the capacities of Rega's air-ambulance services, which are designed to respond to major incidents and peak holiday periods, can thus be better utilised. Finally, such flights also help Rega to maintain and improve its operational and medical expertise, for missions of this kind can be extremely demanding from both a medical and an aeronautical point of view. Consequently, the Swiss population actually benefits from these contract flights in a number of ways.
There are only a few organisations in the world that are able to perform this service in the first place. The fact that we are asked to carry out such medical transports at all speaks for Rega's top-quality services. It goes without saying that flights to crisis regions or former war zones are only performed if the risks involved are within absolutely acceptable limits. The security situation in high-risk areas is continually analysed by our security officers.
Flights of this kind are in accord with our humanitarian principles and concur with the purpose of our Foundation. Therefore, Rega sees no reason to change its long-standing practice.