Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and multiple country border closures, Chapman Freeborn, charter broker company from the UK, says it has already organized 180 emergency flights, repatriating over 10,000 stranded people home.
One of the 10,000 stranded people
Broker teams at Chapman Freeborn, have recently completed large-scale repatriation programmes to the United States from South America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. However, its flights have delivered people to destinations right across the world.
The company is organizing flights on behalf of corporations, governments, NGOs and military divisions to get people home. “No-one would ever wish for a situation like the one we’re facing now, but thankfully, as an experienced aircraft charter business there are things we can do to help,” says Neil Dursley, chief commercial officer at Chapman Freeborn.
On April 8, 2020, Dursley explained on social media what stories hide behind the “10,000 stranded people” number.
“A few days ago I received a call from one of our good clients with an emergency situation,” Dursley wrote in a LinkedIn post. “We had a US Citizen who was stranded on a US Airbase in Afghanistan with no chance of getting out.
“His Wife was seriously I’ll in a US hospital and he needed to return home. I called upon our industry to come up with solutions and contingency plans so we could reunite the Husband and Wife. I’m pleased to say the solution worked and the aircraft has just landed in Baltimore INTL Airport.”
The flight was organized with the help of Diplomatic freight services and National Air Cargo, highlighted Dursley, stating that “When our industry comes together there is nothing that can stop us, not even a Global Pandemic.”
Challenges of organizing repatriation flights
Chapman Freeborn reports that passenger flights are requiring very close monitoring, because of evolving rules and regulations set at local border and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) levels.
The complications include crew being held for varying observation periods, countries only issuing landing permits for passenger aircraft provided the passengers are citizens of that country, and local operators being told they cannot return to the embarkation point if they operate flights outside of the country.
These rules and regulations make it highly challenging to bring aircraft in from abroad.
Chapman Freeborn’s in-house 24/7 flight support company Wings 24 has a dedicated team monitoring the situation daily – providing updates to the company’s worldwide charter departments.
Experience in previous crises
This isn’t the first time the company, with offices across the world, has helped coordinate a response to a global crisis. Back in 2011 it evacuated 15,000 people following unrest in the Middle East. And, in 2009, it helped coordinate repatriation flights during the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic.
In fact, Chapman Freeborn has been there to support with solutions when they’re needed most for the best part of half a century. Nearly every emergency cargo and passenger airlift in the past 45 years has involved a Chapman Freeborn chartered aircraft.
The company also continues to support the battle against coronavirus with cargo charters for medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) from China as well as utilising in-house assets to bring cargo capacity to the market.