Dorian made landfall in the northern Bahamas Islands on Sept. 1 as a Category 5 hurricane, devastating Great Abaco Island, Grand Bahama Island and Treasure Cay. As the storm finally veered north, Dorian’s impact became known and relief efforts began.
Delta and its Delta Connection partner Endeavor Air operated eight flights between Sunday, Sept. 8, and Thursday, Sept. 12, carrying more than 85,000 pounds of supplies and evacuating more than 500 survivors from Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, to Nassau.
“The decision to help was, without a doubt, who we are as a company that cares about connecting the world, and in this case, we were able to connect hundreds of people to safety/humanity,” said Dave Holtz, Senior Vice President – Operations and Customer Center. “Our teams did a phenomenal job coordinating with local authorities and U.S. and Bahamian government agencies to get these planes loaded with supplies off the ground to help those in need. Their commitment to helping others continues to inspire me each and every day.”
Coordinating the humanitarian efforts was no easy feat, especially when operating a mainline aircraft into two airports closed as result of severe infrastructure damage – airports usually served by Delta’s smaller regional fleet.
Security remained a concern as teams from Flight Safety, Emergency Response, Corporate Security, Cargo and Airport Customer Service coordinated a reconnaissance mission from Fort Lauderdale to the devastated islands with Delta Board of Directors member George Mattson and Tropic Ocean Airways, Blue Tide Marine Security and Global Elite Group.
From there, Delta teams secured landing rights in the Bahamas for the next several days, as demand was assessed and local law enforcement and military assisted with unloading supplies and boarding passengers. Delta worked closely with local authorities to understand what supplies would be best utilized and where the aircraft was needed to transport survivors.
Supplies brought to the Bahamas ranged from water, non-perishable food, formula, diapers and clothing to generators and household products.
The hard work of Delta people did not go unnoticed. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat and civil rights icon, shared this appreciation in a letter to CEO Ed Bastian, thanking Delta for our “swift and thoughtful actions.”
Helping those affected by Dorian
While relief flights have concluded, Delta customers can continue to support through donations to the Red Cross.
Delta’s support helps the American Red Cross provide food, shelter and cleanup to those in need. As the Red Cross responds, Delta customers can contribute directly to disaster relief by donating miles through Skywish.