The Amway corporate plane being prepared for a flight to Earthquake ravaged Haiti.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - One West Michigan Company is playing a role in the growing relief efforts in Haiti. Amway Corporation's plane is ferrying supplies and medical staff to and from the country.
Aid flights into Haiti are increasing. The U.S. government reports that more than 180 flights going through the country Monday. One of those flights was an Amway corporate jet, carrying medical workers and supplies. A second flight made the trip Tuesday.
Amway is bringing the light of hope to Haiti.
The corporate jet is carrying a lot more cargo than usual. Amway Director of Aviation Rick Fiddler says, "The number one priority right now has been medical supplies. A lot of latex gloves, a lot of bandages. Anything to support the medical staff."
Fiddler flew the Amway Gulfstream to Haiti Tuesday. He explains, "It's pretty much a routine flight for the most part. The only difference is the airport is so busy right now. The logistics of getting in and out. You have to get an arrival slot run through the government."
Fiddler says those arrival slots go to planes carrying search and rescue teams, medical personnel, and supplies.
Tuesday's Amway flight carried six medical workers. Fiddler says, "We've had people from as far away as California calling us, trying to get on the flights, medical staff, trying to get down because there's a lack of flights getting in and out down there."
The first Amway relief flight Monday carried medical workers to Haiti and brought some back who were stranded by the earthquake. That flight was only on the ground in Port au Prince for 43 minutes. Fiddler explains, "There are people on the ground to receive the supplies. Take them to a center where they will be used by the medical staff. And we're back airborne, coming back."
Amway has a program in place to respond to disasters by donating personal hygiene kits and with its flights of mercy. Fiddler says, "Whether it be search and rescue in a helicopter in Lake Michigan or any type of disaster relief. They basically just tell us go do what you've got to do, get the job done."
Amway has at least three more relief flights scheduled to Haiti this week and next.
For these flights, the company adds a mechanic to its usual crew just in case there is a problem with the plane because they know there's no support available in Haiti.