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Dispute at Van Nuys Airport threatens emergency flights for injured children

April 11, 2012
(Michael Robinson…)

A business dispute between two aviation companies at Van Nuys Airport is threatening emergency helicopter flights for injured and severely ill children from around Southern California to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

The disagreement could result in flight delays or even cancellations, according to executives at Helinet Aviation, which owns and operates 15 helicopters at the airport.

Flights carrying donated organs for transplantation could also be affected, Helinet executives said. Helinet picks up organs from hospitals around the region and flies them to UCLA Health System, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Keck Hospital of USC and Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles relies exclusively on two of Helinet's helicopters to respond when babies are born with serious complications, infants choke or children are injured in car accidents. When children are taken to ill-equipped hospitals as far as Bakersfield and Palm Springs, the helicopters often transport doctors from Children's Hospital to treat them and shuttle them back to Los Angeles.

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