April 21, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has led to significantly decreased general aviation activity, but most GA airports, including Warren County Airport in Queensbury, NY, remain open – in part to be available for emergency and humanitarian missions.

Employees at Rich Air, an FBO at Warren County Airport, recently responded to a middle-of-the-night call that a business jet was flying in to retrieve donated organs. The Rich Air ground crew arrived at 2:30 a.m. and remained on duty until the organs arrived at the airport.

“Airports like ours are critical for local communities, and our country as a whole, to maintain a network, providing life-saving, time-critical operations,” said Steve Abbott, general manager of Rich Air. “Communities come together in times like this, and we’re fortunate to not only serve our own community, but to serve people all over the country.”

Abbott explained that small airports often have more flexibility than some larger airports and can offer last-minute service to facilitate transportation of medical supplies, donated organs and critical medical personnel.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated much of the aviation industry, missions like this one highlight the critical role that FBOs, general aviation airports and the industry as a whole play in our nation’s transportation system.

“We’re essentially transporting lives,” Abbott concluded. “One life unfortunately lost can save multiple lives across the nation. But without general aviation’s support, medical supplies and donated organs can’t be received in a timely fashion.”