Private jets deliver humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees
European private charter airline, AirX has sent more than 80t of humanitarian aid – including food, clothes, and infant products – to support refugees fleeing Ukraine, following the Russian invasion. John Matthews, chairman , AirX, alongside his wife, Amy, have flown two aircraft to Romania and Poland, delivering aid to refugee camps in both countries.
Half of the aid was first delivered using an Airbus A340 flying from Stansted Airport, UK. The remaining supplies were flown from the same airport in an Embraer Lineage 1000 (pictured above). AirX plans to deliver more aid using another Lineage or an Embraer Legacy 650 later this month.
“Any aircraft that’s leaving here [the UK] empty, we want to load and take it to Romania or Poland,” Matthews told Corporate Jet Investor (CJI).
Airx’s humanitarian missions started shortly after Matthews’ 41st birthday last month. As his family and friends gathered in celebration, he became alarmed at the news from Moscow.
“The big names I saw coming out of Moscow, family members with luxury household items, artwork, house staff, led me to realise something was about to happen,” said Matthews. “When I saw the devastation in Ukraine, I became quite emotional, and knew something had to be done. So, Amy and I began to plan what we could do to help.”
Their plans began to form after the Matthews’ discovered some charities in Poland and Romania were willing to deliver aid to civilians by road. They began to collect provisions from their local community and used Amy’s mother’s garage as a drop off point for donations.
What they initially thought would take weeks took only a matter of days. “There were five cars at a time stuck in the driveway delivering boxes like you wouldn’t believe,” said Matthews. These donations first consisted of socks, flasks, and jumpers.
As the gravity of the situation rapidly became clearer, the nature of the donations changed. Mathews said: “It changed to nappies, baby milk, baby food. We got messages from the charities overseas saying: ‘We need baby milk desperately. We only have enough to last until Thursday.’”
There are big plans to develop the humanitarian campaign. “If we can, we’re going to dedicate one aircraft every three months on a trip for charity aid around the world,” said John Matthews. “That’s our kind of pledge. It’s about placing something back into the community.”
Meanwhile Amy Matthews has taken over coordination with Manston Airport Group and Stansted Aid. Key partners in the project are Christian and Muslim community charities home and abroad.
The Matthews said they felt overwhelming emotion when they received pictures of the children with their food and toys, prepared by Amy.
“It’s quite an emotional thing when you stand on a private jet and look around and see crates of baby milk and think ‘there are hungry babies waiting for this.”
Pictured below: Airx’s Embraer Lineage 1000 packed and ready to depart for Romania on Big Jet TV.