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Air Methods Exits Level 2 FAA Safety Management System Status

DENVER, Jan. 6, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Air Methods Corporation (Nasdaq:AIRM), the largest air medical transportation company in the world, recently was informed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it successfully exited Level 2 status in the FAA's Safety Management System (SMS) pilot program. Air Methods is the only helicopter air medical operator to have exited Level 1 and Level 2 in the FAA's SMS voluntary implementation program, and one of only eight commercial air operators (including major commercial U.S. airlines) in the nation to earn a Level 2 exit SMS status acknowledgement letter.

"This is a major safety milestone for Air Methods and the air medical industry, and we are extremely proud of the accomplishment," stated Paul Tate, Chief Operating Officer. "At the beginning of 2010 one of our major objectives was to mature our SMS and this acknowledgment by the FAA confirms our efforts have been focused, defined and successful."

Air Methods' SMS is a result of the FAA Advisory Circular 120-92 (originally published in 2006 and updated in August 2010) that encourages commercial air operators to embrace a fully comprehensive SMS. The FAA SMS follows the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard as a system safety management approach to controlling risk by providing the organizational framework to support a sound safety culture. It also provides the company's management with a detailed roadmap for monitoring risk management and safety-related processes.

The intent of the "Level Status" is to allow aviation service providers to implement an SMS in a standardized manner and to allow recognition of each level of accomplishment. In 2009, Air Methods entered the FAA SMS voluntary implementation program, which is overseen and evaluated directly by the FAA.

"Air Methods believes a structured SMS defined by the FAA is very effective at identifying and mitigating risk and encourages all certificate holders engaged in air medical operations to participate in this voluntary SMS program overseen by the FAA," Tate stated.

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