Sept. 13, 2021

In the wake of Hurricane Ida, AERObridge volunteer pilots made 90 flights and delivered 90,000 pounds of supplies to hard-hit areas of Louisiana. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to assist in times of catastrophic emergency by coordinating donated aircraft to provide immediate response to a disaster.

“We chose two strategically located staging areas situated safely away from Hurricane Ida’s landfall,” said Charley Valera of AERObridge. “Our teams flew out of Beaumont, TX, to the west and Pensacola, FL, to the east. We were then able to access the airports in Galliano and Houma, LA, from which the supplies were distributed.”

Collection of donations for Ida's survivors.

According to Valera, many companies donated their aircraft and pilots to help with the airlift, which included some small business jets.

In addition to flying the supplies that are urgently needed right after a natural disaster – such as water and food – AERObridge accommodated requests for specific supplies that started to come in days after the hurricane devastated the region. “We got a call for cases of tire plugs, for instance,” said Valera, noting that flat tires seemed to be a real problem for many vehicles being driven on flooded roads.

“We also got lots of requests for tarps, nails and hammers,” he said. “And we were proud to be able to respond immediately to a mother’s urgent call for insulin for her son. We were able to procure the medicine and get it delivered within four hours of the initial request.”

IDA Aerobridge mission

Also, In partnership with the Knights of Columbus, AERObridge volunteers flew in 1,000 hot meals, and donated donuts – some 100 dozen of them – were delivered to the disaster area.

AERObridge’s mission notes that by drawing on the resources of business and general aviation, it has the capability to respond to catastrophic disasters in a fluid and rapid manner.

Learn more about AERObridge.

Plane full of donations for Ida's survivors