Escaping Hurricane Irma


As Hurricane Irma bore down on the islands of the Caribbean last week, international aircraft charter specialists Hunt & Palmer USA were tasked with arranging a time-sensitive evacuation flight from the Turks & Caicos Islands for passengers in peril from the approaching storm.

Hunt & Palmer’s VP Commercial Aviation, Paul McCluskey explained, “Speed of response was key to providing an effective evacuation solution for our customers who were in harm’s way. Our constant market intelligence allowed us to quickly provide available options and to make an informed recommendation based upon the experience and skillset of the multiple available aircraft operators.”

For the client, a major global assistance company who were relying on Hunt & Palmer to find the aircraft they needed to get their people out of danger, considerations also had to be made regarding a safe destination in the US for the passengers once the evacuation from the islands had taken place. For the Hunt & Palmer team this meant ensuring the availability of customs and immigration at the destination airport and at the same time selecting a port of entry safely away from the hurricane’s path. In addition, many of the repatriated passengers would need onward connections throughout the USA and beyond so once again, the experience of the Hunt & Palmer charter professionals was key in selecting an appropriate destination airport which was not overwhelmed by other evacuation flights.


Irma 2017-09-08 0642Z

This NASA Image shows the Irma just to the left of the Islands   – By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Recalling the events leading up to the flight McCluskey said, “Although cost was not a driving factor in the selection process on this occasion, we were able to use our strong relationship and purchasing power with the best carrier to ensure that the solution arrived at represented best value for our client as well meeting the overriding priority of ensuring a timely and achievable evacuation.”

In an ever changing and unpredictable situation, a vital part of this evacuation project was fast and effective communications and it fell to the Hunt & Palmer Operations HQ to maintain open links with the relevant airline, handling agent, government and client departments. McCluskey continues, “By closely monitoring events in conjunction with our standard flight following process we were able to anticipate and plan any air traffic, operational or weather related challenges and all the relevant information was duly communicated ‘live’ to the client as it happened.”

Commenting on the successful outcome of their evacuation flight, the client’s Operations Director said, “Thank you Hunt & Palmer for the assistance you provided. The service we received was efficient, professional and everything went well. We all appreciate the hard work you are doing in supporting us and in providing aid to the Caribbean region in this time of need.”

In reply, Paul McCluskey said, “We are pleased to have been asked to assist in this evacuation program and despite the many difficulties and obstacles thrown up by such a project in these circumstances, I was always confident that our team would be able to meet these challenges head on and provide the best solution, which we did.”

Posted on Wednesday 20th September 2017

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