EDITORIAL: Harrison Ford helps promote Airlink disaster relief work

Harrison Ford
Credit: Airlink

Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark star Harrison Ford has become a spokesperson for Airlink, a major coup for getting the message about the nonprofit’s rapid response disaster relief work outside of the aviation community.

Ford, a private pilot, has made a video announcing that he “is proud to be part of the Airlink team that harnesses the power of aviation to save lives and rebuild communities in the aftermath of manmade and natural disasters.”

Now in its 10th year, and supported by more than 40 airline partners worldwide, Airlink works with a network of over 130 disaster response and humanitarian relief organizations to help coordinate the delivery by air of vital supplies and medical volunteers in the critical first days after a disaster.

Airlink has responded to 90 disasters and this year has delivered over 7.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment and more than 300,000 lb of relief supplies as well as medical volunteers to communities impacted by COVID-19.

In addition to responding to COVID-19, Airlink has moved volunteer responders, humanitarian aid workers, and relief supplies to Beirut this year in response to the explosion of a stockpile of ammonium nitrate; to Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida responding to Hurricanes Laura, Sally and Delta; and they helped get teams to impacted communities dealing with the derecho in Iowa. Earlier this year, Airlink also responded to Australian bushfires.

Airlink’s sponsors and partners include United Airlines, Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Aircastle, Polar Air Cargo, Deloitte and Flexport.

“There’s nothing particularly glamorous about what Airlink do, but what they do is essential as a facilitator and logistics expert,” Ford says.

It’s testament to the airlines and air transport industry that partner with Airlink, and to the Airlink team—a small, Washington DC-based group led by president and CEO Steven Smith—that they have continued their exceptional work even as the industry has been so badly impacted by the pandemic.

Harrison’s video can be seen on Airlink’s website and YouTube channel.   

Karen Walker

Karen Walker is Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief and Aviation Week Network Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief. She joined ATW in 2011 and oversees the editorial content and direction of ATW, Routes and Aviation Week Group air transport content.