National Airlines Providing Emergency Relief Supplies
On Thursday, April 2nd, The Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirmed that the National Airlines Boeing 747 arrived around 6 a.m. local time.
The cargo on board included essential personal protective equipment to help fight the spread of the novel COVID-19 virus outbreak. Joe Nardon, President & CEO of CRAA announced:
“This morning’s shipment of critical medical supplies, during a time when they are needed most, illustrates the importance of keeping our airports open and operational during these challenging times, As a logistics hub, Rickenbacker offers a strategic advantage to quickly move goods where they are needed.”
The supplies on board the aircraft were coordinated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bridge the gap between private suppliers and vital healthcare professionals. These healthcare providers are the first line of defense against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) viral outbreak. With the help of the Presidents Task force and the Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force they are working around the clock to ensure that the PPE, air ventilators and testing equipment are provided to the areas with the highest demand in the country first.
The arrival of National Airlines B747-400 carried 83 metric tons directly from Shanghai to the United States. Two more deliveries are scheduled to arrive with max payload of supplies. Some of the items included in the freight include but are not limited to; gloves, gowns, goggles, masks, hand sanitizes, ventilators and testing equipment.
National has completed several missions and are contracted to perform numerous more from India, Europe, and China into the USA carrying pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies.
Chris Alf, Chairman of National, said, “We salute our members, especially the crew who are doing an extraordinary job and accepting the responsibility to fly to world-wide destinations carrying medical supplies and relief materials and braving the challenges we’re all facing today. Delivering the COVID-19 laboratory testing supplies and protective gear are highly time-critical missions in which our fantastic team have accomplished on time.”
Emergency Aviation Aid
As many business and organization shut down around the globe, many individuals are being directly impacted due to the “Stay at Home” orders placed by the United States Government and various other countries.
Although commercial air travel has decreased dramatically due to many travel bans and restrictions put in place, the need for our aviation industry remains at large. Many of the commercial flights that operate domestically and internationally take advantage of extra space in their belly to support the movement of cargo on frequently used routes.
With Commercial airlines grounding aircraft, and suspending routes around the world our supply chain network has experienced a dramatic impact and disruption. Many commercial airlines have taken advantage of their empty cabins to fill the belly and seats with supplies to play a role in the global network of logistics and transportation.
Cargo Airlines have experience an increase demand in request as supplies and vendors are pushing to have their products meet their end consumer. Charter airlines have been working diligently to satisfy the needs of individuals looking to reconnect with their families and head home from travelling internationally. As demand as increase so have the prices for many of the charter request.
The movement of people and goods around the world is an essential piece to our ability to sustain quality of life for hundreds of millions of individuals around the world. The support of the aviation industry is focused on the mission of playing a part in the global mission towards restoring peace and balance in the world.
Struggles within Airline Operations
Charter, Cargo and Commercial Airlines are all experiencing new obstacles and challenges with operating under the current global conditions. Many airlines use the support and network of commercial airlines to position crew members to specific airports to meet operating aircraft while in a specific location.
This is done to minimize time on the ground and keep the aircraft flying in the air. By having crew members in position ready to operate whom are well rested and acclimated to the current time zone, airlines are able to conduct quick crew swaps and keep the aircraft flying out towards its next destination. With networks being disrupted this is affecting the airlines ability to quickly and effectively position crews to airports.
Some airlines have needed to use charter aircraft to fly in crew members to specific locations to keep operations running smoothly. For some airlines having an aircraft on the ground not flying can cost up to $15,000 an hour. When conducting cost comparisons it may be best to charter a private aircraft for $40,000 to bring essential crew member to meet the aircraft to keep operations running as compared to having the aircraft sit on the ground for over 12 hours (an estimated $180,000 cost).
At the end of the day the most important thing right now is that we are able to ensure that the locations and individuals who need the supplies are able to receive them as soon as possible. It is essential that there is no delay in delivery to ensure the spread of the contagion is mitigated. Working together as an one industry the aviation community has banned together to ensure that the safety and happiness of the public are held at the highest priority.
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