News & community - Community

Some Highlights of Raptim’s History

History. One word that defines who we are; not just as an organization, but also as a people. We think it’s of great importance. By learning from our history, we try to improve our organization on a day to day basis. Every day, we are learning from humanitarian aid workers around the globe and share this information with our clients and on this website. Making sure we can help those who need it most to the best of our abilities is what drives us.

Taking lessons from the history of Raptim

The value of history shouldn’t be underestimated. By preserving wise experiences, we can inform the next generations of humanitarians better and faster. As we live in changing times we are always trying to propel ourselves forward. At Raptim, we take lessons from our history.

We also see to it that we preserve valuable beliefs, stories, memories, and learnings. That’s why we want to share the incredible stories of two terrific employees who spent more than three decades with us.

Paolo Tsimbirlis – When plane tickets were handwritten

Paolo started working at Raptim in 1978. At that time, there were no computers at the office. All business activities were conducted using telex, a network of teleprinters. Not many people are familiar with nowadays. It’s quite similar to a telephone network that could send text-based messages. Tickets were handwritten at the time. This created the necessity for a fare expert that would handle manual calculations all day to determine the cost of complex itineraries. They were just as complex as they are today.

Even at that time, when work was far more labor-intensive, we had the same perception about the value of life we have today. We understand that our clients are under a lot of pressure, especially during the worst situations. That’s why we devote all of our energy in maintaining a perfect relationship with them so that we can indeed help them to make a difference in the world. It has always been our mission and hasn’t changed throughout the years.

Leo van Dongen, former general manager of Raptim, Netherlands, started working for Raptim back in 1982. He stayed with us until his retirement in 2013 – totaling a dazzling 31 years of service. He recounts a beautiful anecdote dating back to Raptim’s early years: Raptim’s very first charter flights to Africa would need ten days to complete a return trip. That’s hard to imagine in the modern times. But, back in the days, airplanes wouldn’t use radar-generated information. That’s why they could only fly during daylight hours. Planes had to land in the evening so all passengers could spend the night safely on the ground.

Those initial flights would take off from Amsterdam and touch down in Rome; passengers could pay a visit to the Pope, before carrying on with the journey. His Holiness would bless the passengers and would wish them a safe trip as well as success at their final destinations.