50 years and counting: With their distinctive red and white stars, our helicopters stand for reliability and speed. Our pilots are known throughout the world for their competence, passion and vast experience.
Who we are
Air Zermatt AG was founded in 1968 with just a helicopter, a pilot and a mechanic. Today, Air Zermatt employs around 75 people: Pilots, paramedics, transport paramedics, flight assistants, mechanics, mission leaders and administrative staff.
Air Zermatt has continually evolved through its more than 50-year history, from the "basic" helicopter, which was used exclusively for rescue operations, to a fleet of ten helicopters. All kinds of transports, tourist flights and rescue operations from the simple to the extreme can be carried out with this fleet.
With the Air Zermatt Training Center (ATC), we have established an education and training centre where our experts can share our wealth of experience in the field of emergency medicine and alpine rescue. From training laypeople or specialists from every area of rescue operations, through to continuing education in flight schools for professional pilots, the comprehensive range of training makes the ATC a one-of-a-kind provider.
In April 2011, Air Zermatt and the Zermatt Rescue Station built a rescue station in the Himalayas, providing local, Nepalese specialists the opportunity to complete a training course in mountain rescue. You can learn more about the Earth C-Air relief project here .
"Our close and loyal cooperation with our clients and partners inspires us for the future. So, we are motivated to use all our expertise and manpower to save lives, transport and train others efficiently, reliably and in accordance with our usual high standards."
Gerold Biner, CEO of Air Zermatt AG
"In 1968, helicopter aviation in our country was still in its infancy. Air Zermatt has innovated from the very beginning, not only in the field of helicopter rescue, but also in commercial helicopter aviation. Much of what Air Zermatt has developed for its own needs has later been used by other helicopter companies".
Founder and Honorary President
of Air Zermatt AG
"I'm firmly scheduled between six and eight days a month. On these missions, I meet the people at the frontline, the customers, the rescuers. It's quite good for the boss himself to show up occasionally. That gives me contact with our customers contact and insights into our daily business. One is familiar with the processes and how one's own people work. That provides an overall picture. This is valuable for me and the company."
CEO of Air Zermatt AG
With their work in exchange with helicopter pilots from other nations, the Air Zermatt aviation pioneers are showing off,
that a well organised mountain rescue service is part of the mountain climbing mecca Zermatt.
Air Zermatt is the only company that has been awarded three times with the "Oscar of the Air.”
Beat H. Perren, initiator and long-time Chairman of the Board of Directors of Air Zermatt,
reminisces about the company's roots and the turbulent and difficult times when it was
founded. During its first decades, the young helicopter company played an important role
in the history of alpine mountain rescue.
In the 19th century, Zermatt was still a small mountain farming village. The inhabitants worked their way through life with hard labor. The first English tourists arrived around 1850. They wanted to scale the still-untouched mountains. This brought income to the valley. A narrow-gauge railway from Visp to Zermatt began operating in 1891, but only during the short summer months. The operation of the railway and the power supply was interrupted again and again by avalanches and torrents This became an enormous burden for the growing world health resort. Without an alternative road connection, the tourists could not leave the town.
A lot of time was lost between the accidents on the mountain and the alarms in the village. Rescuers usually only returned one or two days later with deceased bodies. These were wrapped in blankets and tied on the backs of the mules. It was not easy for injured guests, locals and acutely ill persons to reach the hospitals in the valley. Either Hermann Geiger von Sitten had to fly with his small Agusta-Bell 47J HB-XAU – weather permitting – or it was necessary to take the train downhill.
Medical care in Zermatt remained a major problem. Beat Perren decided to buy an Agusta-Bell JetRanger 206 A and purchased the land for a Heliport in Zermatt. After the establishment of Air Zermatt AG in 1968, a pilot was employed, and the construction of the heliport was pushed forward.
1970 saw the purchase of an Alouette 3 HB-XDA: the first helicopter in Switzerland with a rescue winch. This helicopter subsequently wrote rescue history. A short time later, it was deployed on request by the SRFW to rescue two young Englishmen at the Arête Blanche of the Zinalrothorn.
After the first direct rescue from the north face of the Eiger, we had proved that it was now possible to perform rescues by helicopter from even in the steepest rock faces.Order the anniversary book with the complete history of Air Zermatt here.