On January 12th, the island of Haiti experienced a massive earthquake with devastating consequences. Many people, organizations and businesses rallied from all over the world to come to the aid of vulnerable Haitians. The problems in Haiti were complicated due to the difficulties of getting aid to those who needed it most. Boat transport was too slow and air transport was very expensive. Many of the airports had been damaged.
Recognizing the extreme need in Haiti, many aviation businesses volunteered time, flights, and other aviation related services. The National Business Aviation Association reports that hundreds of plane owners, operators and pilots contacted the NBAA and colleagues to coordinate relief efforts. They estimate that in the first five days after the airport in Port-au-Prince was reopened to humanitarian flights, approximately 100 flights bringing relief came from the United States. In another two days, this number increased to 330, with about half of the requests to land coming from civilian aircraft.
The National Business Aviation Association played such a significant role in the Haiti relief efforts that their work has been recognized in Congress by both the House and the Senate. Business aviation participants organized the transport of cargo, supplies and medical relief to the areas most in need.
The NBAA has continued to advocate the role of the business aviation community in Haiti earthquake relief. NBAA members continue to fly relief missions to Haiti and other areas in crisis.