On the morning of April 17th, REVA successfully delivered the last of 15 passengers to their respective homes from Aurora Expedition’s cruise ship in Montevideo, Uruguay. Of the passengers, six were US citizens, three from Great Britain, two from Sweden, and the remainder were citizens of Canada, France, Germany and Switzerland. These individuals required medevac transport after their cruise ship, the Greg Mortimer, was required to anchor in Montevideo, Uruguay. The REVA team worked very closely with the ship owner and cruise company Aurora Expeditions to ensure that the guests and staff were comfortable and cared for during the entire journey home.
The passengers were on an Antarctica expedition, following the trail of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Its 16-day Antarctic cruise was cut short due to the spread of coronavirus on the vessel and had been at anchor since March 27. The ship had spent more than two weeks off the port of Montevideo with more than 200 people aboard, among whom more than 100 cases of coronavirus infection were detected.
This complex charter posed many unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more than half of the passengers had tested positive for the virus. This required cooperation with the CDC, local Quarantine Officers, and REVA's Medical Team to ensure all passengers were transported safely, with limited exposure to crew and the public. During this global pandemic, the rules for international travel and medical transport have changed drastically and require extensive planning. Steve Williams, Director of Medical Operations stated, "This was certainly a logistical challenge more from an operational perspective than a medical one, but we have an amazing support team in our Dispatch Department who coordinated the multiple agency approvals".
REVA's Operations Team in conjunction with Aurora Expeditions coordinated the charter of a Boeing 737 to transport the passengers from Berisso International Airport (SUMU) to Miami International Airport (KMIA).
Upon arrival at Miami International Airport, the U.S and Canadian Citizens were transferred to a REVA Learjet 35 and REVA Learjet 45XR. The two aircraft then continued on to Phoenix, Chicago, and Vancouver. The remaining eight passengers on the 737 aircraft, EU citizens, continued on to East Midlands Airport (EGNX). Upon arrival in the UK, the 737 aircraft was met by a REVA Hawker 800XP. REVA conducted a wing to wing operation with the passengers and safely transported the EU citizens on the final leg of their journey.
Each flight was staffed with a REVA Medical professional to ensure their safety and comfort, “It’s important that we as medical providers be there for these individuals. Offering reassurance to those who have COVID-19 and their families, will help alleviate fear, panic and anxiety. We have a duty to comfort and be there for all of these passengers," said Sean Bryan, Assistant Director of Medical Operations at REVA.
“This was an extremely complex mission that was conducted with unwavering focus and care. The REVA team is trained and prepared to handle these situations. We are glad that we were able to facilitate the safe transport of these 15 individuals back to their homes. It has been a truly rewarding experience for our team” said Shannon Schell, President and CEO at REVA.