DZI'S FIRST HELICOPTER IS READY FOR RESCUE OPERATIONS
By the beginning of February the first helicopter of the single private emergency aid in this country will begin fulfilling rescue operations. You know that everything that is for the first time done in Bulgaria is accompanied by many difficulties, Emil Kyulev, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the State Insurance Company (DZI), explained the two more weeks needed for arranging formalities. DZI and the related companies controlled by Mr. Kyulev are the owner of the first private emergency aid in this country. On January 14, after a short demostrational flight, its helicopter landed in front of the Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Sofia, where its was inaugurated at a solumn liturgy. Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Nikolay Vassilev attended the ceremony to wish good luck to the first aviation emergency aid.In September 2002 Emil Kyulev's company Contract Sofia OOD acquired 80% of DZI AD after he won the tender for the divestment of the state-run insurer. Thus, he beacme the owner of 97% of the shares of DZI-General Insurance and stakes in nine more companies, a healthcare insurance fund among them. On July 30 DZI AD was licensed to set up DZI-Pension Insurance, which will three funds of its own - for additional, obligatory and voluntary insurance. The financial group was established after BNB's Insurance Supervision Depratment granted a permission to DZI AD to acquire 26.9% of the capital of ROSSEXIMBANK, which is also in Mr. Kyulev's property. For the establishment of the first private medical aid in Bulgaria DZI-ROSSEXIMBANK has been working in cooperation with the air company Air Ban AD, the Military Medical Academy and the Union of Bulgarian Motorists. The first helicopter and the four others that it will buy, are model Eurocopter Bo105CBS-4. They can fly 6,000 m high at a speed of 250 km/hour. According to Gen. Stoyan Tonev, head of the Military Medical Academy, the hospital managed by him also has two helicopters, but they are considerbaly heavier than those of DZI-ROSSEXIMBANK and for that reason cannot be used in many cases. The main advantage of the Eurcopter model is that it is very light and can land almost anywhere, Gen. Tonev explained. The great height they fly at and the manoeuvrability allow the helicopters to be used in population centres, ro land on highways, and for rescue operations in mountains. For that purpose a special equipment of the model includes an infra-red camera for tracing tourists who have got lost. A site has already been built for teh first helicopter in front of the Military Medical Academy in Sofia, and two more are projected - in front of the Lozents hospital and infront of the Pirogov Institute for Emergency Aid. For the other four helicopters sites are being prepared in the regional departments of the Military Medical Acedemy in the towns of Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas and Pleven. Thus, the five helicopters will be able to service the entire territory of the country. For comparison, Germany has 49 helicopters for rescue operations. There one helicopter services about 2,000,000, while in Bulgaria one helicopter will be servicing about 1,700,000 people, Mr. Kyulev said. According to him, the whole system of the aviation emergency aid will be operating as of September 2004. Until then the helicopters will be delivered and begin operations by stages. It is planned that the next two helicopters will start rescue operations by the end of March, and the fourth and fifth will be erady for 24-hour shifts in April and July, respectively. Mr. Kyulev projects that all citizens should have access to his private emergency aid. He offers special discounts for those insured in DZI, independent of the kind of insurance. The other group of potential clients will be the employees of big companies with which DZI-ROSSEXIMBANK has signed an agreement, under which the firm pays monthly fees and the personnel gets emregincy aid services at a discount. The third group includes all other citizens who will be paying the entire price of the service.