Air rescue in Canton Geneva dates back to 1971, when the Geneva State Council resolved to purchase its own helicopter to assist with civil defence and police operations. An agreement between the Canton of Geneva, the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and Rega regulates the continuation of a partnership that has lasted for decades for the benefit of patients from 2022 onwards.
The history of the base in Geneva
In 1987, the Geneva civil protection authority signed a collaboration agreement with Rega and Geneva University Hospitals (HUG). Within the framework of this cooperation, HUG supplied Rega with anaesthetists, thus providing the team with specialist medical expertise. This meant that the Geneva helicopter crew could now be deployed for rescue missions and patient transports using the radio call sign, “Rega 15”. All missions performed by “Rega 15” are coordinated by Rega’s Operations Center and the Geneva 144 emergency call center (CASU). In 2001, the helicopter base celebrated its 30th anniversary. At the same time, a cantonal vote on legislation relating to the quality, speed and efficiency of urgent medical transports led to the Geneva base becoming affiliated to Geneva University Hospitals. In 2003, the Ecureuil rescue helicopter was replaced by a new twin-engine EC135 helicopter, which is still in operation today.
Investing in the future
Rega is to station a new five-bladed Airbus H145 helicopter in Geneva from 2025. In order to do so, it first needs to enlarge the existing hangar. During the conversion of the base, bedrooms for the crew members will also be built, so that in future they can also be present at the base at night. This increase in operational readiness after darkness has fallen signifies an improvement in the provision of medical care by air to the local population.
Broad scope of operations
Whether accident, illness or search flight: the helicopter flies around 400 missions every year. In addition, the Geneva crew regularly works together with various operational partners, such as the Geneva Fire Service (SIS), Swiss Alpine Rescue (ARS), the French emergency medical service (SAMU), the International Rescue Society of the Lake of Geneva (SISL) and Geneva Airport Security Services (SSA).
Route Henry-Claudius-Forestier 32
|No. of missions in 2023
|Range of missions
|Accidents, illnesses and search flights.
|Built in 1971
Close cooperation with various operational partners (Geneva Fire Service (SIS), Swiss Alpine Rescue (ARS), the French emergency medical service (SAMU), the International Rescue Society of the Lake of Geneva (SISL) and Geneva Airport Security Services (SSA)).
|The crew's favourite food