As part of its expanded end-to-end air transportation solution to Hurricane Matthew, Airlink is sending its second, large charter flight – packed with medical supplies – to Haiti. The flight will be operated by Airlink partner Western Global Airlines and aid will be used to combat an increasingly dire public health epidemic in underserved areas where many people have yet to receive any international aid. To help deliver some of these resources the “last mile” from Port-au-Prince (PAP) airport to hard-to-reach locations in Les Cayes, Les Anglais, La Gonave, and other areas, Airlink will work with two helicopters and flight crews provided by Bell Helicopter. The aid will be distributed by members of Airlink’s network of nonprofit partners, including Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Americares, MAP International, MedShare, Partners In Health and Team Rubicon UK.
“We see this crisis is still growing, even weeks after the storm, and we know from reports from our team on the ground that the cholera situation is a major threat to recovery,” said Steve Smith, Executive Director of Airlink. “The flights we are organizing will put critical aid in the hands of trained personnel and delivered where needs have yet to be addressed.”
The charter flight with Western Global Airlines will leave Miami-Dade International Airport on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 11 a.m., with 175,000 pounds of air cargo. The MD-11 cargo plane will carry 105 pallets of supplies including food aid, cholera treatment and mitigation supplies (IV solutions, antibiotics), and general medical supplies (wound care, pharmaceuticals, surgical supplies, etc.).
“Once again, we see the aviation sector stepping up and working together to support those in need. We welcome Bell Helicopter and Western Global to the fold and could not do this without them. These organizations join the likes of United Airlines, General Electric, The GE Foundation, JetBlue, Avianca, Copa Airlines and Amerijet in our combined support of the Haitian people in this response,” said Smith.
“It is a top priority of Western Global Airlines to provide relief missions in times of need. International disasters present a particularly important challenge that airlines can help solve. Cargo flights like these become essential to the rapid response and long term relief, especially for crucial medical aid that needs to be on-site in a timely manner. Having previously flown our MD-11 freighters for Airlink on many missions to West Africa to help combat the Ebola crises, we are proud to again join the Airlink network in this mission to Haiti,” said Jim Neff, President and CEO of Western Global Airlines.
Airlink is also working with Bell Helicopter which has dispatched two helicopters, including a Bell 429 and a Bell 412. Each aircraft will have a two-person crew, including pilot and maintainer. The aircraft are capable of delivering both aid and personnel to hard-to-reach locations in Haiti.
“Bell Helicopter is proud to support this important effort to help the people of Haiti,” said JJ Cawelti, Bell Helicopter’s senior manager of public affairs. “Helicopters allow us the ability to get to places where others cannot go. And, we’re happy to work with the network of nonprofit organizations Airlink has assembled to deliver much-needed aid as quickly as possible.”
Based on demand from its non-governmental organization (NGO) partner network of nonprofit humanitarian aid groups, Airlink has established a “end-to-end Solution,” including charter airlift and helicopter transport in support of defined requirements from the ground. Airlink’s role is to facilitate and coordinate the transportation of aid and responders with the authorized NGOs in Haiti, Haitian Government officials, customs authorities, airlines, ground handlers, charter brokers, general aviation aircraft, rotary assets, and other logistics providers and coordination entities, such as the UN-WFP Logistics Working Group.
Airlink’s partner, American Aid Logistics Network (ALAN), is currently operating a US-based staging and warehousing facility near the MIA airport to receive and consolidate aid cargo from NGO’s. These services are being provided by Performance Team in Miami, a long-time ALAN partner. Airlink is transporting aid workers and disaster relief cargo from the US to PAP. Airlink will facilitate last-mile transportation of aid and aid workers by fixed-wing aircraft, a cargo configured helicopter and a personnel carrier to Jeremie (JEE), Les Cayes (CYA) and/ or other designated areas as required. The helicopter assets will be based at Port-au-Prince airport. Two Airlink personnel are in Haiti directing operations.