Over 220 people gathered on 19 March, 2015 (a public holiday), for the DHL Express plane pull in aid of l-Istrina. Twelve teams came together at the Safi Aviation Park to attempt to pull the 60-tonne plane, a Boeing 757-200 Special Freighter, which arrived earlier in the day with the regular shipment of DHL parcels and documents for local delivery, a total distance of 20 metres each time.
Among the company employees who turned up were those of FTIAS Back Office Services, Technoline, the Central Bank of Malta, 42 Marketing, GO plc, Ganado & Associates, MedServ, V. Spiteri & Sons and DHL Express themselves. There were also other local associations, including Phoenix SC, who were co-organisers of the event, the Sliema Scouts, Forge Cross Fit, MCS Malta and the Malta Drug-Free Power Lifting Association. All the volunteers taking part gave €10 each, which will be donated to l-Istrina.
The aim was to raise more money than last year’s sum of €1,500. In recognition of their effort, the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called in person to thank the volunteers and also to watch an effort by a single person, Tony Farrugia, to pull the plane, which was unsuccessful.
Each group’s effort to pull the plane was timed, with the best time achieved being that of the 23 men from V. Spiteri & Sons with 19.84 seconds. In second place were DHL Express with 20.31 seconds, followed closely by MedServ with 20.69 seconds. Two engineers were on hand to ensure that everything went safely and that a good time could be had by all: Bill Simmonds in the aircraft cockpit, and Gordon Tilley on the ground.
The aircraft’s engines were on throughout and Tilley was in audio contact with Simmonds to ensure that the brakes were applied at the end of each attempt. Charles Schiavone, Manager of DHL Express Malta, said: “This second edition of the DHL Express Plane Pull was once again a great success. Managing to pull a plane as part of a team is no easy task and I admire all those who came to attempt to overcome this challenge. “The team spirit and the unity among each group ensured that all the teams were successful.
The visit of President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was a great honour and encouragement to all involved.” Orlando Bonnici, President of Phoenix Sports Club, which once again helped organise the event and manned the gate, sending in the teams of 20 members each, was also satisfied that everything went according to plan. “This year we had double the amount of teams taking part in the event than we had last year. Since the groups were smaller, the actual numbers were more or less the same as last year. I thank the public for turning up to support this unique event and once again we are happy to have worked, in partnership with DHL Express, to raise funds for l-Istrina.”
DHL Express has been operating in Malta since 1983. It currently employs over 50 full and part time staff, servicing a comprehensive list of local and international clients, and operates from a dedicated logistics centre at Malta International Airport. DHL, which is part of Deutsche Post DHL, has a global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and about 315,000 employees worldwide, offering customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their supply chain requirements.
The Phoenix Sports Club, set up in 2010, currently offers athletes an opportunity to practise a number of sports disciplines, including handball, basketball, volleyball, floorball and table tennis. It caters for children as young as 8 years of age up to those in their late 30s. For more photos of the event please visit our Facebook page – Plane Pull Malta