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170928_cape_air_debrief.mp3

Cape Air Struggles To Take Off In Puerto Rico After Maria

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Cape Air Cessna 402C.
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170928_cape_air_debrief.mp3

Cut off from the mainland, the island of Puerto Rico is suffering from a lack of consistent supply drops and exit options. Residents there continue to endure widespread power outages, scarce food, water and fuel.

Earlier today, The Trump Administration waived a nearly century-old law known as the Jones Act to facilitate more supply dropoffs. The Jones Act limits trade between the U.S. mainland and offshore territories and states to be strictly transported by American crews and vessels. Several lawmakers have been critical of the law, saying it hinders supply lines and makes relief efforts more costly.

As the government tries to hasten relief aid, Dan Wolf, founder and CEO of Cape Air based in Hyannis, is still trying to contact some of his staff members trapped in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Wolf tells WGBH News that more than 100 employees are stationed across the Caribbean Islands. He also says Cape Air uses San Juan, the capitol of Puerto Rico, as a center of operations to launch charter flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Hurricane Irma temporarily shut down the airline's operations, but the company soon began relief flights among the islands. Hurricane Maria quickly followed with another wave of devastation to the island's infrastructure and closed down its major airport, which is now partially operating. As WGBH News has reported, some of the first flights originating from Puerto Rico are arriving at Logan International Airport.

In the meantime, Wolf and his staff are working to get back in the air to provide another desperately needed transportation option. 

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