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OFDA selects Air Serv for extensive Iraq humanitarian airlift

$2.2 Million Agreement Will Enable Start-up of Air Transport Service to Fly Workers and Aid Into Iraq from Jordan, Kuwait; Air Serv Aircraft Arrive in Region; Ready for Humanitarian Flights

Warrenton, Va., April 2, 2003 – Air Serv International will fly aircraft into Iraq from Amman, Jordan and Kuwait City to provide aviation, logistical, and communications support to the humanitarian community as result of a $2.2 million start-up grant this week from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). Air Serv aircraft have arrived in the region and are prepared to begin the humanitarian airlift.

Air Serv, a member of the InterAction Iraq Working Group, will provide these services to non-governmental organizations (NGO) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to enable humanitarian response following military conflict in Iraq.

“This grant provides the funding necessary for Air Serv to provide a broad range of aviation services to those who join us in responding to human suffering in Iraq,” said Stu Willcuts, president of Air Serv International.

“As we watch the news, it is obvious that the needs are great,” said Willcuts, now in Kuwait. “As they have done in so many other troubled areas of the world for the past 18 years, Air Serv people will be in the forefront of making a difference in people’s lives. We appreciate the thoughts, prayers and good wishes of the friends of Air Serv as we undertake this important task.”

Air Serv’s response to the Iraq emergency provides an integrated humanitarian air service to responding relief agencies, transporting initial assessment teams, relief workers, and urgent relief cargo to areas of greatest need, as well as medical evacuation assistance. The initial response, from Amman, Jordan and Kuwait City, will include two King Air aircraft to support relief operations, and an Antonov AN-12 aircraft for initial assessments to determine urgent relief needs and appropriate interventions to relieve suffering. The AN-12, based in Bahrain, will also deliver emergency relief supplies, previously stockpiled in the region.

“The initial needs assessment missions we fly may indicate more aircraft are needed. We have already arranged for additional aircraft so we can tailor our initial response to the need,” said Willcuts.

An Air Serv King Air aircraft and crew arrived in Amman March 28, ready to respond to the humanitarian needs in Iraq when it is safe to do so. The Antonov AN-12 cargo aircraft is positioned in Bahrain, and the second Air Serv King Air will be in Kuwait within a week. Air Serv is ready to fly into Iraq as soon as the coalition military forces open the region for safe humanitarian access.

For the past several months Air Serv has worked to prepare to provide assistance to the Iraqi people and the humanitarian agencies that will need safe, secure transport of relief workers, emergency relief materials, food, and medicines throughout the region. Air Serv has worked primarily with the OFDA, CARE, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps, and the International Office for Migration. As a result of Air Serv advance preparation, it now has offices and operating permissions in both Jordan and Kuwait.

Air Serv International’s mission is to use aircraft and other appropriate technology for relief and development, restoring hope for the suffering. Air Serv provides safe, reliable, and cost effective air transport to humanitarian agencies involved in relief and development activities.

In 18 years, with over 140,000 flights and 16 million miles, Air Serv has never had an aircraft accident or flight-related injury to passengers or crew, although it flies most of its flights in the rough conditions of the developing world. Air Serv pilots average more than 7,000 hours of experience each. The company’s schedule reliability is over 98 percent, in part because it prepositions spare parts and conducts an aggressive maintenance program.