Leipzig/Halle hosts humanitarian conference

On May 21, Leipzig/Halle Airport, Volga-Dnepr Group and the Akkon University of Human Sciences ran an international conference on humanitarian logistics, which took place on the fringes of the OECD’s International Transport Forum currently under way in Leipzig.

Götz Ahmelmann, chief executive of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG and chairman of the board at Leipzig/Halle and Dresden Airports, said: “We’re happy to share our wealth of experience in handling cargo flights for disaster and aid missions so that we can continue to develop processes with all those involved in order to be able to act more quickly and efficiently in an emergency.”

Topics covered during the conference included the specific requirements that global disaster operations place on the entire supply chain – from aid organisations, to logistics companies, to airports and airlines. Attendees also exchanged ideas on logistics processes and the challenges involved in combatting epidemics such as ebola.

Prof Dr med Dr PH Timo Ulrichs, head of the International Emergency and Disaster Aid BA and Global Health MSc courses at Akkon University of Human Sciences, observed: “The ebola epidemic in West Africa has shown how important it is to enable active civil and military cooperation for these kinds of missions. Without the air bridge maintained by the German Armed Forces, it wouldn’t have been possible to guarantee continual supplies of consumables or the safety of the personnel if they caught ebola.”

Conference participants were also given an insight into Volga-Dnepr Group’s Antonov 124 and IL76-TD-90VD aircraft – which can carry large quantities of cargo to locations that lack hard-surfaced runways or special equipment for loading and unloading. These characteristics are ideal in disaster relief operations.

Stuart Smith, director global humanitarian at Volga-Dnepr Group, said: “We were able to demonstrate the unique ramp loading features of our An-124-100 and IL-76TD-90VD fleet as well as the access possibilities into our wider group partners with Boeing 747 and 737 freighters. The aircraft tours at our Leipzig operational base were also able to show the different loading and preparation methods for medical and disaster response cargo.

“We are often among the first responders to disaster events, such as recently in Cyclone Idai where we performed over 350 tonnes of cargo across 10 urgent flights,” Smith added.

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