07 Jan Air Serv cargo plane and helicopters arrive in Sumatra
Relief Flights Made Possible by a Grant from South African Government
Medan, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, Jan. 7, 2005 — Two Bell 407 helicopters operated by Air Serv International, the humanitarian air service already serving tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, have begun relief flights for victims in western Sumatra, deploying from the Melaubau airport.
The helicopters arrived today aboard an IL-76 cargo plane from South Africa that also carried 88,000 pounds of relief materials. The flight was made possible by a donation of $655,000 from the Republic of South Africa Disaster Management Center. Air Serv leases the IL-76 from South African operator Naturelink.
“In both Sumatra and Sri Lanka, we are now flying medical teams, supplies, and assessment teams to places not before reached,” said Air Serv President Stuart Willcuts, who is in Colombo.
Also in Indonesia, Air Serv is installing two VSAT (high-speed internet access via satellite) systems in conjunction with Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), for use by humanitarian workers. One will be located in Medan and the other will be in the Banda Aceh area.
In Sri Lanka, Air Serv has the following equipment:
- A King Air 300 is operating from Colombo for NGOs, in cooperation with the USAID/OFDA.
- A Puma helicopter will be arriving January 8 and will be based Katunayake International for NGO use
- Coordinating an AN-8 cargo aircraft based at Colombo’s Ratmalana airport
Air Serv International, a non-profit organization, is requesting donations for its tsunami assistance projects. Contributions may be sent to the organization’s Virginia offices, or can be made at www.airserv.org.
Air Serv International excels in transportation and communication links. For 20 years, Air Serv has been providing safe, reliable, and cost effective air transport to humanitarian agencies involved in relief and development activities.
Stu Willcuts is in Sri Lanka, and Air Serv VP Operations Don Cressman is in Sumatra. For more information or to interview Mr. Willcuts or Mr. Cressman in person or by phone, please contact Debbie Payton at (404) 245-8500; email- dpayton@RooftopMediaWorks.com; or Jim Jewell at (678) 458-9837.
Jim Jewell, Rooftop Public Relations