CSI Aviation: Prepared for Emergency Missions in the Middle East.

CSI Aviation: Prepared for Emergency Missions in the Middle East

February 3, 2015

From war-stricken, oil producing countries in the Middle East, to hurricane-prone islands of the Caribbean, the global air transport and logistics firm, CSI Aviation, is always positioned and prepared for the worst.

“Evacuation and emergency preparedness is the name of the game for several of our clients who do business in unsafe areas of the world,” said Marc Ramthun, Director of Sales for CSI Aviation.  “They need to know that they can move staff, equipment, or their entire operation, out of harm’s way if needed, and that’s where we come in.”

An expert team of logistics professionals – military trained

A recent threat in Iraq, where sixty oil workers needed to be quickly evacuated as ISIS forces pushed in, put CSI Aviation’s emergency response team to the test.

According to Ramthun, the thirty-five year-old company is no stranger to emergency situations, having flown its first emergency response mission in 1990.  He says the company has been providing air transport for emergencies ever since.

“It’s not just the twenty-five years of emergency response experience the company has that makes the difference,” said Ramthun, “But our individual team members’ unsurpassed, real-world training in military logistics and planning.  Nearly 40{dc0dcbf1976a1c45034318a99482c92fccbb7af50c10d9e6e105d776d5f61133} of the people working at CSI are veterans and they come from all five branches of service.  That’s a lot of international logistical expertise under one roof.”

From CEO and U.S. Marine Corps Colonel (Ret.) Allen Weh and COO and Major General of the Marine Corps Reserve, Rock Collins, to former Army National Guard Flight Operations Specialist and current Director of Sales Marc Ramthun, CSI Aviation puts its team members’ military training and background to work for all of its clients.

Big Challenges in Iraq

Currently under contract with one of the world’s largest, international oil and gas companies, the CSI team knows first-hand what it takes to get people and equipment out of the Middle East, where terrorists and military combatants are further destabilizing the area.

In late 2014, CSI Aviation was notified by its client of a possible air evacuation mission in Erbil, a mid-sized town in northern Iraq.  Erbil is home to a large oil operation and when ISIS fighters pushed to within 20 kilometers of town, commercial air service to the local airport was halted and the client had to arrange for the possible evacuation of 60 employees.

CSI Aviation received a phone call from the company’s London headquarters, notifying the team of the deteriorating security situation in Ebril and the possible need to evacuate.  A local air transport company out of Dubai had already been secured to do the evacuation but at the last moment refused to fly citing a “shut down” in air space.

“We’re used to working in this part of the world and have good contacts there.  We know how to make sure information is accurate,” said Ramthun.  “We double-checked and found out that it was, in fact, still possible to fly into Erbil so we drew up a backup plan for air evacuation without the Dubai transport company.”

Even though CSI was working to get a plan in place, circumstances on the ground had not yet warranted a final security call to remove the workers.

Juggling end destinations, amounts of gear and equipment, possibilities for ground transport, official travel documents like passports and visas, and more, made the planning a challenge.

Originally, the client wanted all of the employees and their gear flown directly to London but as circumstances changed, it was decided that the best thing to do was to get the workers on the ground in any safe city, as soon as possible.  Turkey and Jordan were considered the best options.

“Our biggest problem was getting the call on a Thursday because Friday is the first day of the weekend in Iraq,” said Ramthun.  “That timing made it even tougher to secure a carrier.”

To make matters worse, not only did a carrier have to be identified as willing and able, but a cash payment had to be arranged.

“Our team secured an MD80 for a possible Sunday morning flight, but we were still looking for something sooner if we could find it,” he said.

Another option that was being explored involved the sharing of aircraft with other companies who had workers in the area and who were also evacuating.

“It’s amazing how many things need to be considered and how quickly the situation on the ground can change,” said Ramthun.  “That’s why we always work with our clients to have as much pre-planning done as possible so that when the time comes, all we have to do is execute the removal.  If we don’t have the option of pre-planning everything, as was the case in Erbil, then we have to rely on our local knowledge and our team’s expertise in transport logistics in order to get the job done.”

In the end, the last and best option for air evacuation involved scrambling six, small executive jets to fly in and pick up the workers.

“The small jets were ready to go, but the workers ended up moving by bus across the border to Turkey instead,” said Ramthun.  “Our team at CSI did an exceptional job of finding options when there seemed to be done and like everyone who worked on the evacuation, we breathed a huge sigh of relief when the workers arrived in Istanbul.”

CSI Aviation, Inc.:
3700 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, Suite 1
Albuquerque, NM 87107

Contact Us:
Office: (505) 761-9000
Dispatch: (833) 435-9274
CSI Aviation, Inc. is a FAR Part 135 Air Carrier (Certificate# GRTA447E). Charter Flights will be operated by CSI or other FAR Part 135 and 121 Certified Air Carriers providing air charter services arranged by CSI that meet FAA and CSI standards.
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