A SECOND charity air ambulance helicopter is ready to take to the skies today.

Helimed 79, operated by Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA), is ready to respond to emergencies from Aberdeen International Airport from Friday, April 3.

Up until today, the charity operated a single aircraft from its base at Perth Airport, saving thousands of lives over the past seven years.

The launch of the second helicopter means the life-saving capability has been doubled and together, the two aircraft will cover the whole of Scotland along with two government-funded helos and two fixed-wing aircraft.

Securing Helimed 79 is a “major milestone” for the charity, said founding chairman John Bullough.

He added: “There's never been a more crucial time for additional emergency pre-hospital care resources in Scotland and SCAA is proud to be able to strengthen the country's air ambulance fleet.

"Within seven years, this relatively young charity has been able to sustain one helicopter and then fund a second which is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved - not least the public, whose generous support funds our entire life-saving service.

"During these difficult times, the demands on frontline emergency services has never been greater and we hope the public will continue to support us - ensuring that, with the launch of Helimed 79, we can fly more care, more quickly, to more people wherever the need arises in Scotland.

"We wish Helimed 79, her long-serving stablemate Helimed 76 and their experienced and professional crews safe flying in the years to come."