As soon as the first explosions were heard in Ukraine Feb. 24, 2022, nonprofit humanitarian logistics organization Airlink was already launching a response team coordinating with its non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to deliver vital humanitarian aid and supplies to the Ukrainians. The first flights landed in neighboring countries by Feb. 27, enabling emergency response teams to assist Ukrainian refuges on the ground through humanitarian programs set up at the borders of neighboring countries.
Over the month of March, Airlink has supported over 25 of its NGO partners (and counting) with logistics and transportation needs; sent over 120 emergency responders to Ukraine’s neighboring countries to assist refugees; and delivered several planes of over 100,000 lbs. of medical aid supplies—with more on the way.
Airlink provides free and heavily subsidized airlift for a partnership of over 120 NGOs, ensuring that the costs of air travel are not a bar to organizations responding to disasters.
Airlink, Atlas Air and partners answer call for humanitarian relief
Following a request for medical supplies in early March 2022, from the Moldovan authorities, World Hope International (WHI), Lift Non-Profit Logistics, Globus Relief, Airlink, and Flexport.org partnered to provide humanitarian relief for more than 300,000 Ukrainian refugees seeking safety and protection in the border country of Moldova. The partnership provided over 220,000 pounds of medical supplies, valued at over $7 million, to serve a specifically requested need from the Moldova Ministry of Health.
With the support of Flexport.org, air carrier Atlas Air and cargo handler Alliance Ground International, these supplies have been moved from Utah and airlifted via a Boeing 747 from Chicago to Amsterdam, where Flexport.org then arranged for trucking partners to transport the cargo to Moldova. Fulfilling the Moldovan authorities request for assistance required multi-faceted project coordination and experience managing complex supply chains. This relief effort demanded specialized skills to source the requested supplies and transport them from Utah to Moldova via Chicago and Amsterdam.
Virgin Atlantic partners with Airlink to transport critical supplies to Ukrainians
Humanitarian logistics nonprofit Airlink partnered with Virgin Atlantic to transport critical supplies to Ukrainians trapped in the conflict. Through the partnership, more than 60,000 lbs. of supplies, including food, hygiene kits, and baby care items, are being transported free of charge for Missouri-based relief organization Convoy of Hope.
Air Canada, partners bring medical supplies to Lviv
CNW Group/Air Canada
An Air Canada-operated humanitarian special cargo flight on behalf of Airlink and other aid organizations departed Toronto Pearson International Airport with a final destination of Warsaw, Poland on March 9. Through a partnership between Air Canada, disaster logistics non-profit Airlink, relief organization Project C.U.R.E., and freight forwarder Flexport, medical supplies and hospital beds, humanitarian and medical supplies were loaded onboard the Air Canada Boeing 787-9. Medical and trauma supplies destined for a Ukrainian hospital provided by Canadian disaster relief and life-saving humanitarian aid organization GlobalMedic were also boarded.
FedEx, Direct Relief transport medical supplies
FedEx Corp. and Direct Relief, a nonprofit humanitarian organization, delivered 76 tons of critical medical air for Ukrainian refugees to Poland from the US via a FedEx humanitarian relief flight on March 27. Aid aboard the FedEx Boeing 777 cargo aircraft included an emergency field hospital donated by the State of California and substantial quantities of emergency medicines and supplies, including trauma and wound care medications, chronic disease medications, oxygen concentrators, and Covid-19 antiviral tablets. Direct Relief team members were on site for the offload and final-mile distribution to Ukraine.
Delta contributes more than $1 million for Ukraine relief
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines has contributed $1 million to the American Red Cross and Global Red Cross Movement in support of humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine, which are delivering needed supplies, first aid training, evacuation assistance and more. The Atlanta-based airline also has given $100,000 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist in providing humanitarian aid to people affected by the crisis.
United, partners team up to launch Ukraine relief effort
Alaska, United supports Airlink Ukrainian relief effort
With the support of United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, Airlink coordinated flights for more than 60 responders during the first week of the response, supporting several NGO partners including: ADRA International, CORE, EMPACT Northwest, Global Response Management, GlobalMedic, IsraAID, and RE:ACT Disaster Response.
American partners with UNICEF for Ukraine support
Throughout the month of March, American Airlines collected funds inflight by flight attendants and online through American’s partnership with UNICEF’s Change for Good program will be directed to support UNICEF and its humanitarian response in Ukraine. The funds raised will support UNICEF in reaching vulnerable children and families in Ukraine with assistance like access to basic services including water, sanitization, immunization and health care, as well as schooling and learning support and emergency cash assistance for up to 7.5 million children. Additionally, the funds can support UNICEF’s overall response for children in Ukraine and neighboring countries of pre-positioning critical health supplies to cover the immediate needs of internally displaced people in nine strategic hromadas (municipalities). In addition, all AAdvantage miles donated to American’s Miles for Social Good program during the month of March will be directed to Airlink to help transport physicians and relief workers to Eastern Europe to assist with humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Airlink is a global humanitarian organization delivering critical aid to communities in crisis by providing airlift and logistical solutions to nonprofit partners responding to disasters around the world.
ACI Europe raises funds for Ukrainian relief efforts
Airport trade association ACI EUROPE launched a fundraising campaign amongst its 500+ members and their business partners and staff in aid of the relief efforts triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent humanitarian crisis.
Whether there is a global pandemic, a natural disaster or war, the aviation industry—partnering with humanitarian relief organizations—are the first to step up and bring food and critical medical supplies to various places around the globe. The Russian-Ukraine conflict that began in late February 2022 was no exception, as air carriers from around the world touched down with relief for refugees as the first missiles landed in the Ukraine, sending millions of refugees to surrounding countries.
Linda Blachly is Senior Associate Editor for Air Transport World and Aviation Week. She joined the company in July 2010 and is responsible for producing features for Air Transport World’s monthly magazine and engaging content for the aviationweek.com. She is based in the Washington DC office.