The last several years of economic recession has created a perception of business aviation as being a symbol of corporate greed and excess. This is not always the case. While the business aircraft is usually used as a time saving productivity tool, it is often used for humanitarian missions, as well. Following the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, critical supplies and personnel were transported to and from the country on business and personal aircraft of all sizes. A team of aviation professionals came together to provide support services and coordination for those flights.
The Corporate Aviation Responding in Emergencies (CARE) group was started after Hurricane Katrina in 2004. The group is now known as AERObridge, which stands for Aviation in Emergency Relief Operations, and has now attained tax deductible status. Because of the help and coordination of groups like this, over 150 relief flights were able to take place on a section of undamaged highway near the epicenter of the earthquake. Supplies and personnel were delivered and even excess fuel from the plane was used to run generators. For over 3 months, 715 flights transporting 1.4 million pounds of relief supplies and delivering over 3800 passengers were conducted. Many aviation industry support companies have stepped up to contribute to this organization so it will be ready to react to future disasters.
From software and navigational charts to financial contributions and more, the business aviation community is giving back. Other business aviation users give back in many diverse ways. A land development company is helping its hometown airport with development and planning expertise so the airport will be ready to support coming growth. A state aviation organization raises thousands of dollars each year for scholarships. Other companies directly support local and international food & medical relief missions. Flights are donated to medical patients that would not have an opportunity to seek life saving treatments. There’s even a group that transport unwanted dogs from various communities, thus saving their lives and reliving over-crowded pounds. Yes, our industry does give back, time and time again . . . not only returning the value of critical time savings and increased productivity to managers and executives, but to those that desperately need supplies or transportation, as well. “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci The gift of aviation has been given to us . . . we must continue to give in return.