Airlink mobilizes for coronavirus response

As regular readers know, Cargo Facts has for several years supported Airlink, the rapid-response humanitarian relief organization uniting commercial and charter airlines within its network with pre-qualified nonprofits. As confirmed cases of the new coronavirus increase — to 17,391 as of the World Health Organization’s most recent report Feb. 3 — Airlink announced the activation of its Asia-Pacific Regional Response Plan.

Airlink’s regional plans are structured around three central elements: pre-committed air capacity for passengers and cargo; pre-committed financial support in the form of direct financial contributions and crowdfunding efforts; and pre-committed nongovernmental organization (NGO) response capabilities. The organization said it is working with dozens of NGOs, airlines and logistics companies to address air transportation needs, sourcing and information-sharing to aid in the response.

Airlink said it has spent more than a year growing its network in the Asia-Pacific region for emergencies like the current viral outbreak. The coronavirus, first detected in Wuhan, China, is not the first such health emergency for which Airlink has provided aid. In 2014 and 2015, the organization launched an airbridge to support medical supplies into West Africa during the Ebola outbreak, after commercial aviation had halted operations in the region.

“Airlink is uniquely suited to respond to emergencies like the coronavirus that require immediate action from the humanitarian sector and are loaded with logistics challenges, not the least of which is a reduction or complete stop of commercial flights to the impacted region,” said Steven J. Smith, president and CEO of Airlink. “Our organization is the nexus between reputable aid organizations with the tools to respond and other actors with the resources and expertise needed to get help to communities fighting the virus.”

To lend support via a monetary contribution or a donation of frequent flyer miles, visit the Airlink website.

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