President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell request meeting with Air Serv official

President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell request meeting with Air Serv official

President Bush Asks for Update on Air Serv International’s Tsunami Relief Efforts from Kurt Neuenschwander

Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 2005-In his meeting with NGOs this week on tsunami relief efforts, President Bush and USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios singled out Air Serv&rquo;s International Chief Pilot Kurt Neuenschwander regarding the specific work Air Serv is conducting in the tsunami relief efforts.

Neuenschwander’s report included Air Serv’s King Air 300 and Puma flying in Sri Lanka, and 2 Bell 407’s operational in Banda Aceh, with more on the way.

Editor’s note: Since that meeting on Monday, January 10, 2005, Air Serv’s work has expanded to:

  • 5 helicopters operating in Sumatra:
  • 3 with Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
  • 1 with World Vision
  • 1 unassigned Bell-407 available for various other aid agencies

And 2 airplanes serving various locations:

  • A King Air 300 for NGOs to commute between Medan/Banda Aceh/Mobulah/Jakarta.
  • A King Air 200 and a Puma helicopter in Colombo.

According to Neuenschwander, President Bush noted the speed with which Air Serv has responded to this international disaster, and the President asked specifically if Air Serv had been operational in the region before the Tsunami.

“I responded that we hadn’t been, but that being able to mobilize quickly for disasters is exactly what Air Serv does,” said Neuenschwander.

In addition to Neuenschwander’s updates on tsunami relief efforts to President Bush and Secretary Powell, several other NGO officials in the meeting confirmed that Air Serv was vital to their being able to operate in other areas, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Chad/Darfur.

President Bush also learned at that meeting that for nearly two years, Air Serv has been flying into Iraq and Afghanistan, conducting humanitarian flights in those embattled countries. Air Serv was the first non-governmental air service into Iraq following the major conflicts in 2003. Their humanitarian relief efforts in those countries will continue, in addition to their work in Asia following the December tsunami.

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.

MEDIA NOTE: Kurt Neuenschwander and Air Serv President Stu Willcuts are available for interviews in person or by phone from Sri Lanka. For information or to interview Willcuts, please contact Debbie Payton at cellular (404) 245-8500; email– dpayton@RooftopMediaWorks.com or Jim Jewell at (678) 458-9837.