Launched in 1985 by a critical-care flight nurse, it now offers services that many major business jet manufacturers bundle with new aircraft sales.

What It Is: MedAire, a Phoenix-based division of International SOS, provides in-flight and on-ground medical, health, and security services and products for business and commercial aviation travelers, crews, and operators. Its services cover more than 3,700 business and general-aviation aircraft and 75 percent of Fortune 100 companies. 

How It Grew: Haunted by the memory of her helicopter evacuation team’s failure to save an injured child’s life, Joan Garrett—the team’s critical-care flight nurse and chief medical officer—founded MedAire in 1985. The next year, as CEO of the unfunded, solo enterprise, Garrett launched in-flight medical-treatment training and sold MedAire’s first onboard medical kit.

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In 1987, she established MedLink, aviation’s first in-flight response center, whose physicians provide consultation for onboard medical issues 24/7. Gulfstream first bundled MedAire services with all new aircraft sales in 1989, a practice since incorporated by Boeing Business Jets, Bombardier, Dassault Aviation, Embraer Executive Jets, and Textron Aviation. In 1998, MedAire extended its services to Europe.

Garrett stepped down as CEO to concentrate on MedAire’s strategic initiatives in 2004. The company added security services to its portfolio in 2006, and Singapore-based International SOS assumed control of the company two years later, with Garrett retaining her role. In 2012, MedAire introduced an advanced aviation medical kit and NetJets became the company’s first fractional-program subscriber. The following year, MedAire launched its Trip Ready app for business aviation flight crews and operators.

What It Offers: 

Medical and security services. Includes medical assistance in flight and while traveling; and security consultation and advisories on global security and medical threats.

Training. Includes courses on travel risk awareness as well as courses for flight departments, management companies, and private operators on in-flight treatment of illness and injury.

Equipment. Includes defibrillators and equipment for first aid, emergencies, pediatric care, and vital-signs monitoring.

Notable Distinction: In 2017, the National Business Aviation Association bestowedits Meritorious Service award, the NBAA’s highest honor, on MedAire founder Joan Garrett.

Recent News: In April, MedAire released a white paper on global security threats that urged flight departments to proactively consider and recognize potential threats; plan mitigation strategies and tactics; and have the tools, processes, and resources in place to deal with acts that do occur. 


HQ: Phoenix

Founded: 1985

Employees: 230

CEO: Bill Dolny