A National Airlines 747-400 freighter has been busy over the last few weeks, operating 13 flights, at discounted rates, transporting 2.7 million pounds of aid to Puerto Rico to areas most devastated by Hurricane Maria. Three weeks after the hurricane passed over the island, conditions on the ground in Puerto Rico remain dire, leaving millions of U.S. citizens without food, water and power. In the immediate aftermath, airlift provided the critical link to save lives, but as the weeks drag on, the scope of the disaster is testing the capabilities of disaster relief organizations and state agencies.
While the bulk of emergency aid transits through the islands largest airport in San Juan (SJU), National said that it has flown seven of the cargo relief flights – six originating in Dallas, Texas, and one in Atlanta, Georgia – to Aguadilla (BQN), a town of nearly 60,000 on the western coast of Puerto Rico. The flights delivered more than 1.5 million pounds of food and supplies within 35 miles of some of the more cut-off areas of the island.
While San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, has received the bulk of aid supplies from private and governmental organizations, secondary cities like Aguadilla remain in states of emergency and are in desperate need of supplies.
“National Airlines has tirelessly supported Americans at home and abroad for nearly 20 years,” noted Christopher Alf, chairman and CEO. “In the case of Puerto Rico, National was able to mobilize quickly and efficiently to deliver massive amounts of necessary supplies to the island, and hopefully in the process, save lives.”
Alf also stressed that given the years of recovery ahead, the carrier was committed to staying involved in the islands recovery for as long as the process takes.
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