March 3 - Two aircargo charter companies are busy moving emergency aid to assist the thousands of people fleeing Libya for Tunisia.
Air Partner chartered a Boeing 747-400 freighter to carry 91 tonnes of blankets and tents from Dubai to Djerba and a second flight carrying similar cargo, weighing almost 100 tonnes, is scheduled to depart from the Middle East today (March 3).
Clive Chalmers, manager of Air Partner Freight UK, said: "Yesterday's flight was launched within 24 hours of receiving confirmation from the client to contract the aircraft and credit should go to all the organisations involved in getting this urgent shipment airborne in such a short space of time."
Meanwhile, following the company's passenger departments' efforts in evacuating more than 5,000 people from Libya since the crisis began last week, Air Charter Service has also started flying in relief cargo.
Last week ACS chartered an IL-76 to fly from Madrid's Torrejon Air Base into the capital, Tunis with a payload of tents, blankets, cooking kits, jerry cans and tarpaulins.
Richard Thompson, manager of ACS's cargo department, explains: "Within 24 hours of the initial request (from the Spanish Government) we had the aircraft positioned into Spain and we were loading the cargo."
Air Charter Service has also booked cargo flights into Djerba, Tunisia carrying more aid for the refugees.
With up to 12,000 people crossing the border to flee the violence in Libya every day, the need for these vital charters continues.
Justin Lancaster, Air Charter Service's worldwide cargo sales director, commented: "Whilst it is still early days, the situation has the potential to escalate rapidly into a large air operation as thousands upon thousands flee over the border in search of safety".