Fifteen thousand feathered friends

Fifteen thousand feathered friends

During March 2018, the plane in Timor-Leste flew sick patients to receive medical care, flew government officials, transported staff from aid and development organisations... along with delivering 15,000 baby chicks!

Fifteen thousand chickens! A local business importing and selling chickens has begun in the Oecusse region of Timor Leste. This is a small pocket of the country, surrounded by West Timor, Indonesia.

Story by Kim Job

The small local business has support from ZEESM, Special Zones of Social Market Economy of Timor-Leste, a national development programme used to implement innovative governmental policy.


 Pilot Timon Kundig with chickens

The chickens are bought in from Johor, Malaysia and then transported via Singapore to the international airport in Dili. The crates of baby chickens are loaded into the GA8 Airvan for the one hour trip to Oecusse - an enclave of Timor-Leste within neighbouring West Timor.

The small business has flown 15,000 chickens to their farm in Oecusse this month. The chickens will be cared for until they are big enough to sell locally and throughout Timor-Leste.


Aircraft VH-MQO with chickens loaded

Staff reports that the delicate chicks arrive healthier and happier in a MAF plane compared to other methods of transportation. They hope to continue importing chickens to Oecusse every two weeks in the future.

It has taken three flights to transport the baby chicks to Oecusse. On one occasion, bad weather and an urgent medevac flight request meant that the chicks had an unexpected overnight sleepover in the MAF Hangar. But the chicks seemed to cope well with the change in plans, once they had some food and water.


Chicks in MAF Timor-Leste hangar


The owners of this local business may just become one of MAF Timor-Leste’s most frequent fliers, as we assist them to develop their business in a poor and isolated part of the world.