LATAM supports refugees with free cargo transport

By Roger Hailey

Photo: LATAM Airlines Group

LATAM Airlines Group will make free passenger and cargo transport available to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

This arrangement, to support people who have had to leave their homes in search of safety, allows for the transfer of cargo at no cost, and contribution towards in tickets to destinations within the South American carrier’s flight network.

The initiative is part of the LATAM Group’s Solidarity Plane programme, which seeks to generate value in society by providing free transportation to cover different needs in South America.

José Samaniego, regional director UNHCR for the Americas, said: “It is essential for UNHCR to be able to count on the support and cooperation of companies with a social commitment to guarantee protection and help to displaced individuals.

“We are grateful for the immense wave of solidarity from people and companies worldwide with the emergency in Ukraine. Thanks to LATAM for this strategic alliance, which will help us reunite displaced families, and transport aid materials for those who had to flee their homes in Ukraine and in other parts of the world, including Latin America.”

Roberto Alvo, chief executive officer of LATAM Airlines Group, said: “At LATAM we understand that as a company we are also a social actor, that gives us rights, but also an obligation to work for the benefit of the societies where we operate.

“The terrible situation in Ukraine and the consequences of conflict on millions of people led us to approach UNHCR, and today we are proud to be able to make transportation of refugees, donations, and humanitarian aid available to them and their families in all the destinations of our network.”

According to the UNHCR Global Trends report, 1% of humanity was forced to flee their homes in 2020. A major humanitarian crisis is currently unfolding in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, which has displaced more than 10m people. Latin America and the Caribbean is no exception, with more than 18m displaced people in need of aid.

In addition, said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: “We cannot forget places like Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Myanmar and many others that continue to need the support of UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations.”

LATAM’s Solidarity Plane programme is part of the group’s sustainability strategy, and seeks to generate value in society through free passenger and cargo transportation.

During the pandemic, “Solidarity Plane” has played an active role in the transportation of vaccines within the countries where it operates, mobilising more than 232m doses, in addition to transporting more than 3,400 health professionals to attend to urgent needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, the programme announced alliances with solidarity and civil society organisations in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, making available to them the expertise, infrastructure and connectivity through tickets and cargo transportation at no cost to organisations.

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