Air cargo continues aid efforts for Turkey-Syria earthquake

Source: Virgin Atlantic Cargo

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck close to the Turkish city of Gaziantep on the Syrian border on February 6, causing extensive casualties and deaths as well as damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The air cargo industry quickly swung into action to transport aid destined for the devastated region and efforts are continuing.

Two Amazon Air cargo planes loaded with relief supplies flew to Istanbul from the US and Germany at the end of February to deliver aid to earthquake response in Turkey and Syria.

The planes delivered tents, sleeping bags, blankets, heaters, and other much-needed supplies. Amazon teams across Europe and the US packed and loaded hundreds of pallets with supplies, totalling more than 100,000 pounds of items. Relying on teams and facilities in both regions allows Amazon to more efficiently move goods thanks to a wider available inventory, said the company.

Amazon Air humanitarian aid

Photo: Amazon

Air Partner gears into action

In the wake of the Turkey-Syria earthquake and the below-freezing temperatures that followed, its Air Partner’s charter team have arranged approximately 200 tonnes of relief material consisting of blankets and tents from both India (A330F) and the United Arab Emirates (B747F) to help those in need survive the winter.  

Cargo brokering for humanitarian operations demands vigilant planning, logistics co-ordination and rapid mobilisation of aircraft and permits to ensure aid is delivered to areas impacted by catastrophic damage quickly and safely, the company said.

Pierre Van Der Stichele, vice president of the global cargo division at Air Partner, said: “As the international community continues to come together to help survivors, Air Partner’s global network of charter services, logistics experts and 24/7 support team will remain on hand to support those in need. We hope our work will help provide some relief to survivors of the earthquake at this time of unimaginable grief.” 

Global charter aid 

Global air charter specialist Chapman Freeborn has delivered humanitarian aid to Turkey and Syria by chartering flights from the US, UAE, Germany, Spain, Belgium, India, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Singapore and the Philippines

Many years of civil war has rendered delivering cargo to Syria very challenging, however Chapman Freeborn said it has gained the necessary land permits, flyover rights and approvals from the Syrian Civilian Aviation Authority and the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, resulting in thousands of tonnes of aid reaching the population.

Chapman Freeborn earthquake relief operations

Photo: Chapman Freeborn

Consecutive relief flights

FedEx has so far committed more than US $1,000,000 worth of in-kind shipping toward relief efforts. This includes the delivery of approximately 230 metric tonnes of critical aid from the Dubai World Central Airport, where the new FedEx Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa hub will be located, to Istanbul via five FedEx MD-11 flights from February 17 to 21.

These charters delivered relief supplies including tents, blankets, baby items, household supplies and hygiene kits from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Photo: FedEx

Air bridge collaboration 

A new earthquake relief alliance incorporating SunExpress, DPD, FIEGE, time:matters, CB Customs Broker GmbH and Lufthansa Cargo has formed to create an air bridge between Germany and Turkey.

SunExpress, the joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, brought the companies together to transport more than 1,000 tons of relief as part of the “Wir helfen gemeinsam” (We’re helping together) initiative.

On February 17, two Lufthansa Cargo-operated Boeing B777 freighters (flight numbers LH8332 and LH8334) travelled from Frankfurt to Antalya to bring urgently needed relief supplies such as blankets, hygiene articles and food bound for the crisis area.

From February 20, SunExpress will use flights under flight number XQ8881 for cargo-only transport every Monday and Tuesday. SunExpress has received an exemption from the relevant authorities for these so-called cargo flights.

SunExpress also flies daily from Frankfurt to Antalya and will load relief goods on these flights.

ACS swings into action

Air Charter Service (ACS) has arranged multiple passenger and cargo aircraft charters into Turkey and Syria to transport search and rescue teams from around Europe, along with essential humanitarian aid for the victims of the devastating earthquakes.

Ben Dinsdale, director for government and humanitarian services at ACS, said: “We started receiving calls from both governments and NGOs later in the morning last Monday. Following some research we ascertained that Gaziantep Airport – closest to the epicentre – was fortunately, still fully functional.

This was ideal for search and rescue teams, but that meant that it would become exceptionally busy very quickly and, at the time, had limited loading equipment, so was not the best choice for our first few cargo charters. Adana, however, had more room as well as a highloader available and Damascus in Syria also had good availability of loading equipment.

“By Tuesday morning we had our first representative on the ground at Gaziantep Airport overseeing the arrival of our first flight – a chartered Airbus A330-200 from Germany, carrying a search and rescue team on board.

“Later in the day the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s first search and rescue team, including dogs, to the affected areas arrived on board another Airbus A330-200, which was also carrying vital cargo in its hold.

“Towards the end of last week we started flying in cargo charters, the first of which arrived into Adana, from Spain, on Thursday on a Boeing B747-400 carrying an entire field hospital. Since then we have arranged multiple charters on aircraft including IL-76, B737, B747, B757 and B777 into Adana and Damascus, as well as one each to Incirlik Air Base, in Turkey and Aleppo, Syria.”

Source: ACS

UPS B767 flights

A Boeing 767 is currently taking off every night from the UPS Air Hub at Cologne Bonn airport, transporting urgently needed goods to Turkey from national and international aid organizations, UPS employees, citizens, and companies.

The UPS Air Hub at Cologne Bonn Airport is UPS’s European air freight hub for international transport of goods. As a European hub, it is not only a platform to service customers but is also central to disaster relief efforts and support.

In addition to the Cologne-Istanbul airbridge, UPS and The UPS Foundation have taken other measures to provide assistance where it is most needed. This includes:

  • Pledging more than $1m in global logistics services.
  • Working with the World Food Program, UNHCR and International Red Cross & Red Crescent to fly in relief items from Dubai.
  • Offering transport capacity in UPS trucks for the Istanbul city government and NeedsMap, a local NGO that UPS supports.
  • Activating EDUARDO, an emergency air dashboard created by skilled UPS volunteers to help humanitarian relief organizations quickly access all available flight capacity available at airports across Turkey.

Source: UPS

Virgin Atlantic cargo-only flight 

Virgin Atlantic Cargo conducted one of the first UK aid flights to Turkey when an all-cargo flight left Heathrow airport on February 14 containing more than £350,000 worth of vital supplies for those in need following last week’s earthquake in the region.

The specially chartered Virgin Atlantic cargo-only flight departed at 1030 UK time transporting 64 pallets of clothing and other essential supplies, including 31,000 coats and blankets and almost a tonne (990kg) of infant milk powder.

The destination of the flight is Adana, a city approximately 115 miles from the epicentre of the earthquake, in Gaziantep province. The shipment will be handled on the ground by AFAD, the Turkish Government’s Aid Agency.

The humanitarian mission is being led by Magen David Adom UK and is a combined effort by a number of organisations, including crisis response charity Goods for Goods, medicines supplier Durban and Virgin Atlantic, who have donated the flight.

Shai Weiss, chief executive at Virgin Atlantic, said: “The loss of life and scenes of destruction in Turkey and Syria following the earthquake are truly devastating. We are doing all we can to support the relief effort and are pleased to once again partner with MDA UK to transport vital supplies to the region.

“Virgin Atlantic and its partners are united in the belief that business can be a force for good and we’ll continue to stand ready should further opportunities arise.”

AerCap efforts

AerCap has transported approximately 13 tons of humanitarian aid to Turkey following the devastating earthquake.

The freight, which was flown from Rotterdam to Antalya in Turkey on board an Airbus A321 aircraft, includes clothing, baby food and power generators, and will be distributed by several humanitarian aid organisations who are on the ground providing assistance in the region.

“AerCap is proud to play its part in transporting emergency humanitarian aid to support the global response effort following the earthquake. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Türkiye and Syria at this very difficult time and all those impacted by this tragedy,” said Aengus Kelly, chief executive of AerCap.

“We thank everyone who helped make this flight possible, including our colleagues, our partners at Southern Cross International and BBN Airlines, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Türkiye, Fokker Techniek and STREWREIB, and the many individuals who assisted with loading the aid on board the aircraft.”

Air cargo industry provides Turkey-Syria earthquake aid

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