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At U.S. Chamber, NBAA Recounts ‘Air Bridge’ After Haiti Earthquake
Within hours following the devastating earthquake that struck the small island nation of Haiti on January 12, 2010, people from all corners of the business aviation community came forward with one central question: “How can I help?”
Last week, at a roundtable discussion on Haiti’s relief and recovery, Lisa Piccione, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), illustrated how the community worked together to answer that question.
“In the days after the earthquake hit Haiti, NBAA Members responded generously with their time, talents, donations, and aircraft to bring lifesaving responders, equipment and supplies to the devastated island nation,” said Piccione. “This is not a new role for our community, but given the level of devastation, it was an unparalleled expansion of the relief efforts business aviation provides every day.”
Piccione’s remarks were delivered at the “Haiti: Jobs and Growth – What Will It Take?” roundtable, held at the US Chamber of Commerce, and co-sponsored by the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) and the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA).
Several aviation non-profit relief organizations and NGOs went to work to determine needs, and began coordinating people and companies from across the industry to match up resources to help those in need. Within two days after the quake hit, NBAA had logged hundreds of offers of flight support and other assistance from individuals and companies in business aviation.
Piccione reported that it was estimated that nearly 100 general aviation aircrafts flew humanitarian missions from the U.S. to Haiti in the days after a local airport reopened to humanitarian flights. “In the two months since the earthquake, a tally of all of the offers to donate time, aircraft, and expertise has been difficult to gauge, but estimates are that business airplanes have conducted more than 700 flights, transported nearly 3,500 passengers and delivered several hundred thousand pounds of supplies,” continued Piccione.
“As we learn more about this disaster’s toll and the outpouring of aid and assistance, the business aviation community is proud to be an indispensible part of our country’s emergency infrastructure system.”
In preparing for future natural disasters, Piccione recommended the government create an operational playbook that includes private sector assets to help even better coordinate massive relief efforts."