This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
With the Covid pandemic placing a chill upon corporate aviation activity over the past year, a collateral impact was felt by the Corporate Angel Network (CAN), the nonprofit business aviation charity that relies on available seats on business aircraft flights to fly cancer patients to treatment centers. It noted that a year ago, within the span of a week, most corporate flight departments halted all travel for the foreseeable future.
Amid the pandemic, the need to provide such services went on unabated. Indeed, given the fragile immune systems of most of the patients, the requirement to keep them away from the airline traveler population became even more critical. But with the virtual absence of traditional corporate flight department activity, CAN, which has organized more than 63,000 patient flights since its founding in 1981, pivoted its attention to using dedicated and proficiency flights, even flights to scheduled maintenance. Its team began sending requests to dozens of grounded flight departments to make sure that all flights were being considered for patient transport.
By casting a wider net and through the generosity of its corporate partners, CAN was able to continue its mission of providing transport to patients in the Covid era.
For 2020, its tally was more than 300 patients flown on more than 900 flights (some patients required multiple trips), equating to a 56 percent request fulfillment rate—down slightly from its usual pace—with dozens of upcoming flights needed. "We frequently utilize two-part flights, so we ask that if you think you can assist with any portion of a request, please let us know," said CAN director of programs and services Samantha Lohse, adding it can also use donated or otherwise unused flight hours from fractional programs to help meet its patient transport needs.