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Castle & Cooke coordinates Hawaiian relief efforts
Lahaina on the island of Maui was burned to the ground when fast whipping winds impacted the Hawaiian islands from Hurricane Dora. Castle & Cooke, aided by Planet Nine and Rainbow Helicopters, stepped up to help.
Facilitating GA relief movements to support Maui while reducing carbon emissions.

With FBO locations in Van Nuys airport, California, and Daniel K Inouye International airport on Honolulu, the island community is near and dear to Castle & Cooke Aviation. So when long time Van Nuys tenant and Part 135 operator Planet Nine Private Air approached the company about relief efforts for Maui during the disastrous wildfires, the FBO team leapt into action.

One month later, the FBO and its partners continue to facilitate aid. “When we think of general aviation, we think of flexibility,” says president of aviation operations and business development Tony Marlow. “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 during and after emergency situations. It has the 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.”

In mid August, Planet Nine ferried supplies from the mainland to Hawaii. Together, the two companies, along with other Van Nuys donors, filled a Bombardier Global Express with relief supplies and basic necessities such as water and toiletries. Avfuel Corporation donated nearly 3,000 gallons of Neste MY SAF for the trans-Pacific trip, reducing the carbon footprint of the flight.

Castle & Cooke staff at Honolulu also handled a number of helicopter flights by Hawaiian tour operator Rainbow Helicopters, which focused its efforts on mothers and babies. “To date, we have flown 12 missions, to include 5,500lbs of supplies,” says Nicole Battjes, CEO and director of operations. “We have flown 275 containers of formula, 175 boxes of diapers and wipes, and 1,500oz of breast milk. We have been working directly with non-profits ‘Keiki O Ka ‘Aina’ and ‘Pacific Birth Collective’ to ensure mothers are getting the critical essentials they need for their babies during this challenging time.

“We are so appreciative of the support Castle & Cooke has provided, paying for the jet fuel for these missions. Tony Marlow has been unwavering in his commitment to our mission. He reached out immediately to us when the fires occurred, offering any support he could for us to be able to help."

Castle & Cooke donated water and jet fuel, and supported the influx of pop-up flights between islands.

“I am thankful for our teams in Honolulu and Van Nuys 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,” says Marlow. “What we’ve seen out of Maui is absolutely heartbreaking. As aviators, specifically in the general aviation sector, we recognise 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.”

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