COVID-19 :: Humanitarian Flight Operations
ICAO assisting with humanitarian flight operations during COVID-19
Montréal, 25 March 2020 – As part of its ongoing efforts in the global response to COVID-19, ICAO has taken action to assist the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), managed by the World Food Programme (WFP), as it continues to try to deliver reliable and effective passenger and light cargo transport during the COVID-19 pandemic in support of wide-ranging humanitarian goals.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently drew attention to the fact that the COVID-19 virus “does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly.” He underscored that as armed conflicts still rage around the world, “the most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.”
With WFP facing difficulties in keeping abreast of global airport closures, posing risks to the reliable transport of relief staff and supplies, ICAO assisted with a new app it had already been developing to monitor government aeronautical information for up-to-the-minute airport closure updates.
ICAO’s Regional Offices have been actively coordinating with WFP counterparts and have been assisting with their efforts to expand MEDEVACS capacity globally and to establish seven dependable hub airports to support its worldwide humanitarian flight operations…
“UNHAS operations are critical to many citizens and societies no matter the global situation, and in many instances they are the only option for getting supplies to the world’s most remote and challenging locations,” noted ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu. “As we work together to respond to a global pandemic they become even more important, however, and therefore throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we’re calling on governments to be cognizant and proactive in assuring and supporting these vital air services.”