With FBO locations in Van Nuys, California, (KVNY) and Honolulu (PHNL) connecting the mainland U.S. with Hawaii, the island community is near and dear to Castle & Cooke Aviation. So, when long-time tenant, Planet 9, approached the company about relief efforts for sister-island, Maui, amidst disastrous wildfires, the FBO’s team leapt into action, helping to facilitate aid in a way only general aviation can execute in the wake of disaster.
One month later, the FBO and its partners continue to facilitate aid to help a community in need heal.
“When we think of general aviation, we think of flexibility,” said Tony Marlow, Castle & Cooke Aviation’s president of aviation operations and business development. “With our two locations, that flexibility is typically used to facilitate efficient travel for business and leisure. However, the flexibility that general aviation affords is of even greater importance when you think of assistance in and after emergency situations. It’s flexibility to fly around the clock without the constraints of a schedule; and the flexibility to fly into remote locations that may be cut off from major infrastructure, as we saw with periods of isolation for the town of Lahaina.”
With this flexibility, in mid-August Castle & Cooke Aviation focused its operational resources on facilitating much-needed aid to the residents of Maui with Planet 9 ferrying supplies from the mainland to Hawaii. Together, the companies—along with several other Van Nuys donors—filled a Bombardier Global Express with relief supplies and basic necessities, like water and toiletries.
Beyond the more obvious essentials, Castle & Cooke Aviation, together with Avfuel Corporation, donated nearly 3,000 gallons of Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel for the trans-Pacific trip, helping to provide the necessary supplies while reducing the carbon footprint of the flight.
On the other end of the FBO pairing, Castle & Cooke Aviation’s staff at PHNL handled a number of helicopter flights by tour operator Rainbow Helicopters as they immediately began transporting supplies to Maui. Castle & Cooke Aviation donated an abundance of water and jet fuel to support these relief flights, while its team came together to seamlessly support the influx of pop-up flights between islands. Such flights, and Castle & Cooke Aviation’s support of them, continue to this day.
“I am thankful for our teams at PHNL and KVNY who have worked tirelessly over the last month to handle needs on the ground as our operator partners take to the sky to support Maui,” said Marlow. “What we’ve seen out of Maui is absolutely heartbreaking. As aviators—specifically in the general aviation sector—we recognize our significant role in assisting others by connecting communities more safely and efficiently than would otherwise be possible. This can look like round-the-clock flight handling, or access to remote locations, like Kapalua Airport, which only offers a single runway, but was mere minutes from the fire.
“I am particularly proud of the tireless work of the Honolulu team in support of our families and friends in Maui. We have a role to play; and while nothing can ease the pain for those who lost their businesses, their homes or their loved ones, we can continue to do our part to provide some semblance of relief, one flight at a time.”