Samaritan’s Purse saw the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraq as hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the war-torn city of Mosul and knew its DC-8-72 cargo aircraft could help. There was just one problem: Long-standing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations forbid U.S. aircraft from flying into Iraq. Samaritan’s Purse turned to Cozen O’Connor for help clearing this hurdle.
Knowing they were embarking on a steep uphill climb, the Cozen O’Connor team set to work immediately, looking to convince the FAA to make an unprecedented exception to the ban on U.S. flights into Iraq. Members of the firm’s Transportation & Trade Group worked tirelessly for six weeks to amass the documentation needed to demonstrate that Samaritan’s Purse — who provides critical assistance to victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine worldwide — had in place the training, procedures, plans, and reliable intelligence needed to safely operate the proposed flights into and out of the city of Erbil. This effort included working hand-in-hand with Samaritan’s Purse personnel to draft an operations manual dedicated solely to these flights.
Exactly one month after filing its application, Samaritan’s Purse received the first-ever exception to the regulation at issue. The Cozen O’Connor team then set to work navigating the Transportation Security Administration’s approval process, moving with extraordinary speed in light of the humanitarian crisis unfolding as refugees poured out of Mosul. The team again met with success, and on January 25, 2017, Samaritan’s Purse began operating flights into Iraq, carrying thousands of tons of cooking supplies, medical provisions, equipment, and material for shelters, among other life-saving provisions. Cozen O’Connor is proud to have been a part of this remarkable undertaking.