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Timor-Leste

2 aircraft
7 staff
11 destinations
24 partner organisations


The Challenge

After a referendum in 1999 resulted in a majority vote for independence, serious conflict followed in Timor-Leste. Within 3 weeks, the country was rampaged by anti-independence Timorese militias (organised and supported by the Indonesians). Most of the country’s infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100% of the country’s electrical grid were destroyed.

Stability was eventually restored and the country gained independence in 2002. But life remains difficult. Isolated communities have few of life’s essentials and surface transport can be slow and dangerous. In December 2012, the UN and Australian Army withdrew peace-keeping forces from Timor-Leste, along with all their aircraft. Many airstrips were closed.

Timor-Leste has the highest level of malnutrition in Southeast Asia, and the highest percentage of underweight children in the world. Mortality is 11 times that of Australia, and almost 40% of the population lives in poverty.



Our Operation

Our programme began in 2007 and MAF is just one of two regular domestic airlines operating in the country. With a population of 1.3 million people, demand for MAF’s services continues to grow.

In partnership with the Ministry of Health, MAF provides life-saving medical evacuation flights from the districts to the country’s main hospital in Dili, each year transporting over 300 patients requiring urgent medical care. Our flights also enable NGOs to assist people living with disabilities in remote areas. We often transport visiting international medical teams, including cardiologists and eye specialists, to Oecusse hospital, located in an isolated enclave. MAF Timor-Leste flies the staff of many organisations that are working here, who are seeking to improve the health, education and well being of it’s people.

Quote: ‘It is now the season of easterly winds which means the sea is rough, but it does not mean that WorldFish will stop working on Atauro Island. MAF helped us with transportation so that our work plans went smoothly. MAF’s existence in Timor-Leste is really helpful for those in need.’ Inacia Teme of WorldFish