Thanks to the kind-heartedness of its volunteer pilots, rural people whose lives are becoming even more remote with the closure of many regional flight services, can now ask Angel Flight for help in bringing in vital supplies.
Angel Flight CEO Marjorie Pagani advised on Thursday that the medical flight charity was prepared to extend its free volunteer flights to include transporting vital medical or health supplies, and to extend compassionate flights where needed, to overcome coronavirus-related fallout.
"This has become a substantial need and will increase with the closure of many regional flight services," she said.
"You don't know from one day to the next what's happening with air services at the moment.
"There's the spectre of the minimisation of even subsidised routes."
Ms Pagani said the offer would be on an as needs basis as per their usual selection criteria for charity flights, and the last thing they wanted to do was cut across the work of regular public transport or charter companies.
"It's for whatever people's health professionals say they need, and that could be their social worker," she said. "We are also working to assist people to get to remote clinics where no regular commercial public transport activities or charter flights are available."
She said the idea had been initiated by Angel Flight pilots themselves, who had been ringing to ask what they could do to help increasingly isolated people.
"We thought we would put it out there and see what response we had."
The assistance would be made without cost to the recipients of the travel or equipment.
In its 17 years in operation, Angel Flight has assisted more than 100,000 rural and remote people across the country travel to city hospitals for non-emergency medical appointments.
According to advice on its website, the usual flights were currently still being processed as per the usual protocols.
"We rely on health professionals to request flights for patients: it is their discretion to assess whether travel is suitable for the passengers during this time, and of course the passengers and volunteer drivers and pilots have the ultimate choice," it says.
"We suggest all volunteers consider wiping down surfaces which are touched by any person before and after each flight or drive, and volunteers may like to consider using and/or supplying surgical-style gloves during transport.
"Keeping alcohol-based hand cleaner in your vehicles and aircraft as recommended would be a wise choice (or alcohol-based hand wipes), so that the passengers may feel more comfortable, and can use as desired."
People interested in the new initiative can contact the Angel Flight office on (07) 3620 8300 or email email@example.com