Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on 25th April this year, measuring 8.1 on the Richter Scale, the aircraft charter industry has been busy trying to help the survivors with relief goods and search and rescue teams.
Leading aircraft charter specialist, Air Charter Service, has already completed more than 50 charter flights into and out of Kathmandu, with more booked over the coming weeks. Commercial Director, Justin Lancaster, commented: “Initially it was difficult for anyone to fly aid into the region straight after the disaster. Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal and is relatively small, meaning that only a few aircraft could fly in at any one time. Scheduled passenger flights, emergency rescue flights and military operations were being allocated top priority and landing permits and overflight permissions were taking up to four days to be processed.
“These problems were gradually overcome. We sent in ACS staff members on the first few aircraft that we were able to get into Kathmandu. Once they were on the ground, they could coordinate our relief efforts and provide us with real time information on the situation. We had two of our team still at Kathmandu Airport when the second earthquake struck on 12th May, who were able to relay immediately the further damages that it had caused.
“We have now flown aid in from all over the world – the UK, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Scandinavia, India, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Canada and the Middle East – for governments, NGOs and freight forwarders.
“We have been involved in coordinating mass relief efforts before, such as the aftermath of the Asian tsunami, the Haiti earthquake and, most recently, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, but the logistical challenges trying to help victims of the Nepalese earthquake were some of the most difficult that we have ever had to overcome. Such is the complexity of the situation that, more than a month after the first earthquake struck, we still have someone on the ground over there helping us coordinate the charters.”