Aircraft charter broker Air Partner has developed a global contingency plan aimed at evacuating passengers from cruise ships around the world and deploying specially chartered aircraft to fly them to their destinations.

The UK-headquartered company says the cruise industry launches around 10,000 annual voyages, supporting nearly half a million passengers at any given time.

"By their very nature, incidents like these never seem to happen during standard working hours," says Graham Davey, manager of Air Partner's emergency planning department. "Preparation makes a huge amount of difference when you are evacuating thousands of people with only a moment's notice."

Source: Flight International