Air Charter Service has arranged more than 40 charter flights to Turkey and Syria to assist the countries since the earthquakes in Turkey on 6 February.
The company’s passenger and cargo teams initially flew in search and rescue teams, and have since transported more than 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian cargo on behalf of governments and humanitarian organisations (NGOs).
Ben Dinsdale, director of government and humanitarian services at Air Charter Service, commented: “We started receiving calls for help early on the Monday, before the second earthquake had struck. Most importantly for the search and rescue personnel ready to go, Gaziantep Airport – nearest the epicentre – was still fully operational. By the following day we had flown German and British teams there, as well as someone from our Frankfurt office to oversee the smooth operation of the following charters.
“Later in the week we started flying in relief cargo, with our first flight being an entire field hospital on a Boeing 747 from Spain. We have now transported more than 2,000 tonnes of relief cargo on a wide variety of aircraft, including Boeing 737s, 747s, 757s and 777s, Airbus A300s and A330s, and Ilyushin 76s. The cargo has included shelters, tents, blankets, food and drink supplies, as well as the field hospital.
“The cargo flights have come from all around the globe, including Asia, the US, the Middle East, Northern Europe and even the Canary Islands. We still have several charters booked that will fly in the next couple of weeks.
“It is times like these that we feel we can really help to make a difference in thousands of people’s lives. Our hearts go out to them at this terrible time, but hopefully we can, in some small way, make their lives slightly more bearable for now.”