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Wednesday
Sep132017

Bohlke International Airways (STX) Narrowly Escapes Grasp of Hurricane Irma: Sustains Operations to Support Relief Efforts Throughout Caribbean

A ramp normally full in-season with private aircraft carrying business travelers and vacationers in St. Croix at Bohlke International Airways (STX) is now full with military operations carrying government aid and volunteers for locations throughout the Caribbean in the wake of disaster.

Having narrowly missed the massively destructive eyewall of category-five Hurricane Irma by 43 miles on Sept. 6, Bohlke International Airways’ St. Croix FBO and Part 145 repair station remains one of the only unharmed general aviation facilities in the Caribbean. STX is the closest operating airport to some of the locations most heavily affected by Hurricane Irma—including St. Thomas, St. John and the British Virgin Islands. As such, Bohlke International Airways’ STX FBO has become the staging hub for international relief efforts. They are also facilitating rescue and relief efforts for St. Maarten and St. Barths.

“While our island is virtually unscathed, the level of destruction our close neighbors throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands and much of the Caribbean experienced is heartbreaking,” said William R. Bohlke, president and chief pilot for Bohlke International Airways. “We are fortunate to remain fully functional and our top priority is to facilitate relief efforts to the areas heavily affected by Irma, so their inhabitants can receive the care and supplies they direly need.”

As the relief staging hub for the Caribbean, Bohlke International Airways is temporarily home to the U.S. Air Force; U.S. Navy; U.S. Marines; Air National Guard; Federal Emergency Management Agency; American Red Cross; Salvation Army; and privately-owned aircraft sent to supplement relief efforts, with new entities arriving daily. Several medical evacuation services have joined forces with U.S. Virgin Islands-based AeroMD, including AirMed International; Aitheras; AMR Air; Medway; and REVA.

“The response has been astounding,” said Ashley Bouzianis, director of marketing for Bohlke International Airways. “As soon as it was safe for operations to begin, we received an influx of traffic to facilitate the relief of devastated communities. The Caribbean has a long road of healing ahead of it, but with support from the air, hopefully we can help facilitate that healing a little faster.”

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