AIRLINK aviation charity group spearheads an airlift for the Ebola Virus outbreak in Liberia

CAPA is a proud supporter of aviation industry charity, AIRLINK.

The organisation recently organised a relief mission to West Africa carrying medical supplies to support efforts to combat the spread of Ebola Virus. Using volunteer crews, the flight supplemented efforts where many scheduled services had been cancelled on medical safety grounds.

AIRLINK"s first major effort was to Haiti in 2010, following the disastrous earthquake there and has since has transported over 3,300 aid workers and 800,000 pounds of cargo by air to support rescue missions in countries across the world - all supplied by airlines and NGOs.

The value of services donated equates to approximately USD1,500,000 in donated air transportation, but more importantly, thousands of saved and improved lives.

AIRLINK, a unique aviation industry charitable operation that provides practical support in crisis zones

AIRLINK describes itself as a 24/7 disaster relief organisation that links pre-vetted NGO’s with airlines (who in turn provide space on flights to assist in the uplift of helpers and supplies).

Founded in December 2009, AIRLINK was conceived by aviation professionals serving within the ISTAT Foundation with the express purpose to facilitate a broad partnership between commercial aviation and NGO community.  The intent was to utilise commercial aviation capacity on scheduled air carriers to support NGOs in their humanitarian relief efforts – all at relatively low cost to the airlines and NGOs.

Since inception, AIRLINK's airline partners have transported over 3,300 passengers and 800,000 pounds of cargo in support of a broad range of humanitarian missions. AIRLINK estimates the value of these movements at USD $1,500,000.

For more detail please see: http://airlinkflight.org/

A chartered jet to deliver medical supplies to Monrovia

AIRLINK recently secured a charter jet, with funding donated by Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr., to fly emergency medical aid and protective gear for healthcare workers fighting the deadly Ebola outbreak.
ATX Air Services, LLC, a subsidiary of the Hillwood Development, a Perot company, provided the 737 charter to transport critical supplies such as masks, gowns, gloves and other medical equipment from their home base of Ft. Worth, Texas, to Monrovia, Liberia, with an interim stop at New York’s JFK airport to load additional aid.  
The flight left JFK on 26-Aug-2014, carrying a 30,000 pound payload, manned by two volunteer crews, flying back-to-back and rotating to keep rested. On board were four pilots, a mechanic and a load master. The flight touched down in Monrovia, unloaded its humanitarian cargo, refuel and immediately took off for the return flight.  
Steve Smith, Executive Director of AIRLINK commented, “AIRLINK would like to thank Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. and ATX Air Services, LLC, a subsidiary of Hillwood Development, for the generous donation of this plane to provide medical supplies and humanitarian aid to the people of Liberia. With the supply chain significantly contracted by many carriers deciding not to fly into West Africa at this time, we are particularly appreciative of the efforts of the Perots and ATX Air Services. Many of our NGO partners have told us we are the only avenue for them to deliver aid.”
Speaking on behalf of ATX Air Services, General Manager Scott Bohnenkamp praised the crew remarking, “I had no problem getting the crew for this mission. I had six slots to fill and I had six volunteers willing to donate their time and efforts.”
The five non-profit organisations in AIRLINK's network of NGOs sending the much needed supplies in the airlift are: AFYA Foundation, AmeriCares, ChildFund International, Direct Relief and MedShare. Other AIRLINK partners providing logistical support on the ground are: UPS, FedEx, ALAN, and LIFT.

A full list of partners is at: http://www.airlinkflight.org/partners

AIRLINK's coordinating role pulling together not for profit organisations

The Ebola outbreak affecting Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria is largest in history and the first in West Africa. The virus has spread to 1850 people and has taken the lives of over 1000. Sierra Leone (730 confirmed cases, 315 fatalities) and Liberia (599 confirmed cases, 323 fatalities) are the countries most affected by this epidemic, with high concentrations in urban areas.

The scarcity of medical supplies has caused many doctors and health care workers to be quarantined, and they are unable to provide help for those infected with Ebola. Because Ebola is transmitted via bodily fluids, personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn by anyone administering care to infected patients, including 1-2 pairs of gloves, a gown, eye protection, a face mask, and shoe covers.

AIRLINK recognized the dire need in West Africa and pulled together five of its nonprofit partners - Afya Foundation, AmeriCares, ChildFund International, Direct Relief, and MedShare - who had aid supplies to deliver to Liberia. Through a cooperative effort between logistics actors (American Logistics Aid Network, LIFT, UPS, and FedEx), and charter airline ATX Air Services, AIRLINK was able to coordinate the delivery of 15,000 pounds of PPE to Monrovia, Liberia.

About AIRLINK and how the industry can support the cause

AIRLINK is a 24/7 disaster response organisation that links pre-vetted nonprofits with airlines for air and cargo transportation. Through the AIRLINK programme, disaster response teams can be mobilised to affected areas in a timely manner; disaster victims can receive delivery of necessary relief, supplies and the support that ultimately will help them rebuild their lives.

AIRLINK’s reach is global, with an air transportation network that is constantly expanding as crises and natural disasters are on the rise around the world. AIRLINK has supported humanitarian initiatives on every continent.  Since its inception in 2010, AIRLINK's airline partners have flown approximately 3,300 passengers and transported 800,000 lbs. of cargo.

Many airlines have offered their resources in supporting this extremely worthy cause.

For more information, please visit www.airlinkflight.org

Click through to AIRLINK Partners to view a current list of Airline and NGO Participants.  Follow AIRLINK on Facebook and Twitter.

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