As the conflict in Ukraine continues into a third week, the humanitarian crisis in the region is growing. Access to basic supplies is increasingly limited for individuals fleeing Ukraine for neighboring countries and those staying in their war-torn communities.
Humanitarian logistics nonprofit Airlink has partnered with Virgin Atlantic to transport critical supplies to Ukrainians trapped in the conflict. Through the partnership, more than 60,000 pounds (lbs) of supplies, including food, hygiene kits, and baby care items, are being transported free of charge for Missouri-based relief organization Convoy of Hope.
Playing an equally critical role in the partnership is new Airlink donor SEKO Logistics, which provided logistics services free of charge for this shipment, including trucking from Convoy of Hope’s World Distribution Center in Missouri to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and transportation from Belgium to Poland.
“Convoy of Hope’s partnership with Airlink is crucial to getting supplies into the hands of those affected by the crisis as quickly as possible,” said Ryan Grabill, Convoy of Hope’s senior director of international disaster services. “While many Ukrainians have escaped their country by seeking refuge in neighboring countries, many more are still in Ukraine and cut off from nearly every standard supply chain mechanism on which they have come to rely. Airlink and Virgin Atlantic are making it possible for Convoy of Hope and our local partners to get needed supplies into people’s hands in just a matter of days.”
As part of its mission to mobilize the aviation industry in times of crisis, Airlink partners with airlines and other logistics companies to move relief workers and emergency supplies from nonprofit partners into disaster-affected communities. It does this for free, enabling NGOs to spend more on humanitarian aid.
“Airlink’s nonprofit partners are facing significant challenges, including low availability of flights and high response costs, as they rush to resource affected communities in Ukraine and in host countries, including Poland, Moldova, and Bulgaria,” said Airlink President and CEO Steven J. Smith. “Virgin Atlantic’s donated airlift so we can move these supplies means thousands of people will receive life-saving assistance as they seek safety during the conflict.”
Through Airlink, more than 130 aid organizations can quickly and efficiently provide medical aid, food, access to clean water, shelter, and other assistance to some of the world’s most vulnerable beneficiaries.
“At Virgin Atlantic, we continue to consider all ways to use the power of our people and our planes to support those caught up in the conflict in Ukraine. By partnering with Airlink we are able to provide vital medical aid and humanitarian supplies for remaining civilians in Ukraine and refugees who have fled to bordering countries. Within days, this crucial shipment will be in the hands of those who need it most,” said Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic.
Airlink and its partner airlines, freight forwarders, and Logisticians have transported nearly 100 relief workers and more than 108,000 pounds of aid for 18 nonprofit organizations responding to the growing crisis in Ukraine.
“At SEKO we recognize that we have an obligation in times like these to offer our network and team to support global humanitarian aid & relief efforts, and we’re proud to support Airlink and their airline partners with the excellent work that they do in expediting critical life-saving cargo to Ukraine and neighboring countries in Europe at this time,” said Brian Bourke, SEKO Chief Growth Officer.
Due to continued need and requests from NGO partners to transport additional relief workers and emergency supplies, Airlink is also using its donated funds to purchase charter flights to ensure supply chain difficulties don’t prevent aid from getting to communities in need.