Member Article

From Swine Flu to Covid-19: how an air charter specialist at Gatwick is flying to the rescue again

A global aircraft charter specialist based at Gatwick has once again found itself at the centre of a global battle to repatriate citizens.

Chapman Freeborn has already helped more than 10,000 people get home and organised 180 emergency flights, made of up of both commercial and VIP flights, during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Its broker teams have recently completed large-scale repatriation programmes to the United States from South America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and the mission has been featured on national news stations.

However, its flights have delivered people to destinations right across world, and this isn’t the first time the 47-year-old company, with offices in Gatwick’s business park, has helped co-ordinate a response to global crisis.

Back in 2011 it evacuated 15,000 people following unrest in the Middle East. And, in 2009, it helped co-ordinate repatriation flights during the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic.

Neil Dursley, chief commercial officer at Chapman Freeborn, said: “No-one would ever wish for a situation like the one we’re facing now. But having the experience of previous outbreaks can help in the response, and thankfully, as an aircraft charter business, there are things we can do to help.

“We are currently working around the clock on behalf of global corporations, governments, NGOs and military divisions to get people home.”

It goes without saying that operations to repatriate citizens at such a difficult time is not an easy process.

Due to the evolving rules and regulations set at local border and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) levels, Chapman Freeborn reports that passenger flights are incredibly complicated and require very close monitoring.

For example, crews are being held for varying observation periods and some countries will only issue landing permits for passenger aircraft provided the passengers are citizens of that country. Other local operators 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.

Dursley said: “I’m proud to be a part of a company that can respond when needed and provide genuine support. We know what a difficult time it is for everyone, including our own staff of course. Despite that, I’ve witnessed first-hand the level of dedication and professionalism shown by our teams globally because they want to help.”

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.

It 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.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Chapman Freeborn .

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