Helicopters are once again proving their worth in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, and three firms ? Bell Helicopter, Airlink and GE ? have combined efforts to match helicopter capability with the essential need to transport aid workers and supplies to regions in Haiti inaccessible by any other means.
Shortly after the disaster hit the island, Airlink reached out to its aviation partners searching for helicopters. Airlink is an experienced rapid-response humanitarian relief organization that brings together airlines with pre-qualified non-profits. GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), a supporter of Airlink since its founding in 2010, connected Airlink with Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing company that GECAS purchased in 2015.
Milestone’s team quickly surveyed its network of helicopter operators and manufacturers and was delighted when Bell Helicopter stepped up to provide two helicopters and crew for relief missions in Haiti. With the newly available lift provided by Bell Helicopter, Airlink scheduled a second charter flight to Haiti with 175,000 pounds of supplies, which Bell’s team will distribute to remote areas of the island.
“GE has a history of mobilizing resources across our businesses during critical times of need,” said Robert Green, Chief Financial Officer of GE Capital. “I am very proud of our GECAS and Milestone teams who worked together to provide value-added support to Airlink through our aviation networks.” GE Capital is providing financial support for Airlink’s mission in Haiti in addition to annual financial support provided by GECAS.
“When Milestone learned of Airlink’s critical need to reach remote locations inaccessible by ground infrastructure, we immediately began to work with our industry partners to identify available helicopters,” said Lauren Norelli, Milestone’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development. “Bell Helicopter responded to our outreach without hesitation and worked diligently with Airlink to review operational requirements and mobilize two helicopters and crew to Haiti.”
“We are thankful to Milestone for highlighting this much needed helicopter mission and introducing us to Airlink,” said JJ Cawelti, Bell Helicopter’s Senior Manager of Global Public Affairs. “Helicopters are a uniquely capable asset and we are proud to bring our Bell 412EP and Bell 429 aircraft to this important mission supporting Airlink and numerous other nonprofit organizations that are providing critical humanitarian aid in Haiti.”
Created in 2010 by the leadership of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) Foundation, Airlink is a rapid-response disaster relief organization that links airlines with pre-qualified NGOs to transport aid workers and cargo to locales around the globe in humanitarian crisis. The organization has been coordinating transportation assistance since Hurricane Matthew hit early in October.
Following the hurricane, GE Foundation, GE Capital and other GE businesses have contributed more than $750,000 to the Haiti relief effort, including financial donations and water purification equipment. GE’s financial aid has been provided through Airlink, Hope for Haiti, Team Rubicon, Americares and St. Boniface Haiti Foundation.
About Bell HelicopterBell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.
About Milestone Aviation GroupMilestone Aviation Group, a GE Capital Aviation Services company, is the world’s leading helicopter leasing company. Milestone has a fleet of over 215 helicopters worth US $3.7 billion and supports 32 operators in 26 countries on six continents. The company has a forward order book of firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price of US $3.2 billion. These near-term delivery positions of in-demand helicopters are made available for lease globally. Milestone partners with helicopter operators worldwide and supports them through lease and debt financing. The company provides financing for helicopters serving a variety of industries, including offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services, police surveillance, mining and other utility missions. www.milestoneaviation.com
About GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS)GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) is a world leader in aviation leasing and financing. With over 45 years of experience, GECAS offers a wide range of aircraft types including narrowbodies, widebodies, regional jets, turboprops, freighters and helicopters, plus multiple financing products and services including operating leases, purchase/leasebacks, secured debt financing, capital markets, engine leasing, airframe parts management and airport/airline consulting. GECAS owns or services a fleet of over 1,950 aircraft (~1,700 fixed wing/ ~250 rotary wing) in operation or on order, plus provides loans collateralized on an additional ~400 aircraft. GECAS serves ~ 270 customers in over 75 countries from a network of 25 offices. www.gecas.com
GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.ge.comMilestone Aviation Group