A DEDICATED air ambulance for Lancashire and Cumbria is set to take to the skies after the launch of a new craft in the North West.

The first air ambulance, based at Blackpool Airport, flies 900 missions a year but is unable to attend around 700 sorties due to already dealing with other emergencies.

New £1.3million chopper has been unveiled which will attend emergencies in Greater Manchester, Cheshire, and Merseyside.

The original ambulance will focus on calls in Lancashire and Cumbria, reaching every part of the region in 10 minutes and getting people to hospital within 20 minutes of a 999 call.

Lynda Brislin, chief executive of North West Air Ambulance, said: “Our second helicopter allows us to fly double the missions and get to incidents quicker, which means we can serve the community better.

“It also means we can really ramp up our role as part of the front-line emergency care team and help us get to more incidents even quicker.

“I would estimate about a third of people we airlift to hospital would not have survived without us.

“Every day our passionate and dedicated people put their lives on the line to save others.

"Our latest addition to the family will help us save even more lives.”