Beginning in the days before the hurricane, Airlink experienced high demand for transportation assistance from its NGO network, as both relief personnel and aid materials were needed to address the crisis. Together with Avianca, Copa Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines, Airlink helped deploy 39 personnel on Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs), groups of relief personnel, and medical teams from NGO partners All Hands Volunteers, AmeriCares, CADENA, Disaster Tech Lab, Heart to Heart International, and Save the Children. These organizations provided general and emergency health services, to provision of clean water supplies and solar lamps, to creating child-safe spaces, to clearing debris and building temporary learning centers and schools.
Airlink sent its first charter flight in response to Hurricane Matthew from Miami to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on October 18. The flight carried more than 100,000 pounds of medical and WASH supplies via AmeriJet from NGO partners AmeriCares, International Medical Corps, MAP International, MedShare, and World Hope International. At the same time, Airlink deployed its first-ever Field Operations team to assist in NGO coordination and ensure smooth logistical operations for our partners sending supplies.
A second flight to Haiti in aid of ongoing needs was sent on Tuesday, November 1, carrying 175,000 pounds of supplies to address food insecurity, general medical aid, and cholera mitigation and care. Our partners included ADRA, AmeriCares, FERHA, MAP International, MedShare, and Partners in Health. The supplies were transported by Western Global Airlines, and were cleared through customs the same day, thanks to the logistics expertise of Airlink staff on the ground.
Meanwhile, Airlink also deployed 2 helicopter assets – a Bell 412EP and a Bell 429 – through a generous donation of capabilities from Bell Helicopter. The purpose of this deployment was to augment the existing private and WFP-supported rotary assets serving hard-to-reach areas in Les Cayes, Jeremie, La Gonave, and Les Anglais, among other areas, with last-mile lift for cargo and transport for aid personnel. Over the course of two weeks, Airlink worked to match Bell crews with NGO partners who could deliver IV solutions and food aid to underserved and cut-off areas of Haiti that were affected by the hurricane. In total, at least 54 metric tons of supplies were distributed on 76 flights, reaching tens of thousands of people in remote locations.