Private charterers play key role in mercy missions

By Bencyrus Ellorin |November 16,2013 - 08:00 AM

Away from public attention in the Mactan Cebu International Airport, one of the main hubs of the global humanitarian mission for communities stricken by supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), fleets of privately-owned helicopters are doing vital sorties in isolated communities Leyte and Eastern Samar.

One of the groups that is sending doctors and relief workers, and rescuing families in typhoon ravaged communities is Philjets Aero Services Inc, a company that charters helicopters and jets in partnership with Eurocopter Foundation. They set-up operations in the General Aviation area of the MCIA to cater to humanitarian flights.

A roundtrip flight from Mactan Island to Leyte that takes from three to four hours cost between P65,000 to P85,000.

In case of Philjets, they only charge for the maintenance, positioning aircrafts and the fuel. Their operations here are for international non-government organization and financed by Eurocopter Fondation.

Last Nov. 15 and 16, Dynamiq and Philjets conducted rescue flights in Palo, Leyte which may reflects the global efforts to help survivors of the strongest typhoon on record to hit land. A petroleum company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wanted to help a distraught employee who lost 11 members of her family to Yolanda in Palo, Leyte.

Nine surviving family members – women and children were rescued from hunger and creeping lawlessness that followed the typhoon devastation. They have been seeking shelter in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Seminary.

The UAE-based company contracted Dynamiq in Australia for the rescue mission. Dynamiq deployed a local agent and facilitated rescue flights with Philjets. The rescued survivors are now staying with relatives in Cebu City.

Anthony Moorhouse, CEO and founder of Dynamiq told Cebu Daily News that “supertyphoon Yolanda presented unusual problems for communications due to a limited network capacity and the limited availability helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to assist in evacuation. Through the use of trusted partners, we were able to evacuate our client’s people to safety.”

“Dynamiq is currently assisting a number of organisations look after their people caught in, or entering the disaster zone, especially in and around Tacloban,” he added.

Among those chartering private helicopters are the Medicins Sans Frontiers, International Committee of the Red Cross and Dynamiq, a private emergency management firm based in Sydney, Australia, said Boris Chevreau, a French executive of Philjets.

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