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Covid-19: Gatwick based air charter company repatriates more than 10,000 people across the world

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A global aircraft charter specialist based at Gatwick has once again found itself at the centre of a global battle to repatriate citizens.

Chapman Freeborn has already helped more than 10,000 people get home and organised 180 emergency flights, made of up of both commercial and VIP flights, during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Its broker teams have recently completed large-scale repatriation programmes to the United States from South America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, and the mission has been featured on national news stations.

However, its flights have delivered people to destinations right across world, and this isn’t the first time the 47-year-old company, with offices in Gatwick’s business park, has helped co-ordinate a response to global crisis.

Back in 2011 it evacuated 15,000 people following unrest in the Middle East. And, in 2009, it helped co-ordinate repatriation flights during the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic.

Neil Dursley, chief commercial officer at Chapman Freeborn, said:

“No-one would ever wish for a situation like the one we’re facing now. But having the experience of previous outbreaks can help in the response, and thankfully, as an aircraft charter business, there are things we can do to help.

“We are currently working around the clock on behalf of global corporations, governments, NGOs and military divisions to get people home.”

It goes without saying that operations to repatriate citizens at such a difficult time is not an easy process.

Due to the evolving rules and regulations set at local border and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) levels, Chapman Freeborn reports that passenger flights are incredibly complicated and require very close monitoring.

For example, crews are being held for varying observation periods and some countries will only issue landing permits for passenger aircraft provided the passengers are citizens of that country. Other local operators cannot return to the embarkation point if they operate flights outside of the country.

These rules and regulations make it highly challenging to bring aircraft in from abroad.

Chapman Freeborn’s in-house 24/7 flight support company Wings 24 has a dedicated team monitoring the situation daily – providing updates to the company’s worldwide charter departments.

Dursley said: “I’m proud to be a part of a company that can respond when needed and provide genuine support. We know what a difficult time it is for everyone, including our own staff of course. Despite that, I’ve witnessed first-hand the level of dedication and professionalism shown by our teams globally because they want to help.”

In fact, Chapman Freeborn has been there to support with solutions when they’re needed most for the best part of half a century. Nearly every emergency cargo and passenger airlift in the past 45 years has involved a Chapman Freeborn chartered aircraft.

It also continues to support the battle against coronavirus with cargo charters for medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) from China as well as utilising in-house assets to bring cargo capacity to the market.

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‘How is COVID-19 impacting your business?’ Crawley Council wants to know

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Tell Crawley Borough Council about the impact of coronavirus on your business.

The council, working together with Manor Royal BID, has released a new survey asking businesses to report how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 

In response to the pandemic, the council is forming an Economic Recovery Taskforce alongside local businesses, community and stakeholder representatives to evaluate the true impact of the crisis on the local economy and develop a coherent Economic Recovery Plan for the town, including how the forthcoming Crawley Towns Fund programme should be spent to aid recovery.

This survey will provide the council and Manor Royal BID with “real time” information on the impact of the crisis on day to day business activity in Crawley and help the council and the BID to understand what additional support is needed for local businesses at this time.  

Businesses will be asked how staffing levels and turnover have been affected, what Government business support schemes they have used and what further support they may need.

All responses to the survey will be treated with confidence and the results will only be read by those involved in formulating a response to the COVID-19 crisis as part of Crawley’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Leader of Crawley Borough Council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said: “Our initial aim was to support businesses as quickly as possible, using the Government’s Small Business Rates Relief Grant and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. Now we need to look at our long term recovery plan and this includes hearing from businesses and finding out where further resources need to be directed.”

Executive Director at Manor Royal BID, Steve Sawyer, said:

“How we come through this will depend on our ability to work together for an even better Crawley. We will work enthusiastically alongside the council as part of the Crawley Taskforce, which begins with collecting meaningful data from businesses so we can design a place-specific collective response. We encourage all businesses to complete this short but important survey.”

To fill out the survey, visit crawley.gov.uk/council-information/how-council-works/consultation

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