Air Charter Service has been working 24/7 on helping the victims of the earthquake in Haiti ever since the news of the devastating natural disaster broke last Tuesday evening.
The earthquake, which measured 7.2 on the Richter scale, struck less than ten miles from Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. It is the worst earthquake to hit the country in the last two centuries, and it is now estimated that around 200,000 people may be dead and 1.5 million homeless on the Caribbean island as a result.
Air Charter Service is playing its part in the relief effort. Chartering a Boeing 757 on behalf of the British Government last Wednesday, ACS was the first organisation to have an aircraft arrive into the region from Europe. Since then it has conducted a further thirty flights, with many more planned over the next few days.
Using Santo Domingo Airport in the neighbouring Dominican Republic, along with the extremely congested Port-au-Prince Airport itself, the company has flown in search and rescue teams, as well as tents, food and water for the homeless, and has also operated some evacuation flights out of the country.
James Leach flew in on the first flight and is based at Santo Domingo Airport. He has been joined by Josh Stewart, an ex-RAF loadmaster. James explains the importance of having company representatives on the ground as: “We help facilitate fast offloading of the aircraft, coordinate the aircraft slots, make sure we get quick turnarounds and keep our worldwide offices up to date with the status of their flights. Ultimately this means that the aid gets to where it needs to faster. ACS has a proud history and a lot of experience in relief efforts such as this, so I flew across here on the first flight we performed. From what I have seen so far, the devastation appears to be on a par with when I was in Banda Aceh following the tsunami in December 2004. Josh and I hope to be joined by another ACS representative this week as we continue to receive requests from aid organisations across the globe”.
Indeed, along with the already completed operations, ACS has many passenger charters and cargo charters currently underway or planned in the coming days from its offices in Europe, along with flights organised by the company’s North American offices.