SEPANG, Malaysia — The AirAsia Group donated a total of 10 hours of flight time on the group’s Airbus A320 for up to 180 personnel and up to 8 tons of cargo to Airlink, dedicated for humanitarian efforts in Southeast Asia.
The flight time donation incorporates the provision of cargo space and carriage of passengers, which will be utilized to fly humanitarian aid supplies and relief workers to affected areas in the event of a disaster.
Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO said, “We think Airlink is doing an amazing job with their global aviation relief network and we feel honoured to be able to contribute. Throughout our short history since 2001, AirAsia has been involved in humanitarian causes and and we wanted to be able to contribute in the region AirAsia calls home, where we can be of the most use. We are proud to be a part of this noble effort and Airlink’s global aviation relief network.”
Since its inception, Airlink has operated with modest funding, most of which came from the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) Foundation. In January, 2013, Airlink transformed into an independent non-profit organization, enabling them to broaden their financial and volunteer support, while maintaining connections with both the Foundation and the valued ISTAT members. As a result of considerable outreach to airlines and other entities related to transportation, Airlink has secured a variety of contributions including, one million frequent flyer miles on account, forward capacity commitments and financial sponsorships. “We are grateful to AirAsia for their generous donation and we look forward to working together to prepare a strategic plan that will utilize the flying time to benefit the communities in their region,” said Steve Smith, Executive Director, Airlink. “Having those 10 hours in our inventory and a plan, will facilitate a more timely response to orchestrating humanitarian relief efforts in Southeast Asia should a crisis arise.”
AirAsia has been to the aid of people and nations in the region at times of need. It was at the forefront of relief efforts in the wake of the tsunami that struck the region in 2004 and supported the recovery of Bali, Indonesia, after the terrorist bombings in 2005 by giving away 12,000 free seats on its flights. The airline was also provided assistance during Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar (2008), the earthquake in Sichuan, China (2008) and earthquake in West Sumatera, Indonesia (2009).
More recently in 2013, AirAsia flew in humanitarian aid to Tacloban to help communities affected by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. The airline also launched the ‘To Philippines with Love’ (#toPHwithlove) campaign to help those affected by the storm.
About the AirAsia Group
AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, services the most extensive network with 88 destinations. Within 12 years of operations, AirAsia has carried over 220 million guests and grown its fleet from just two aircraft to over 150. The airline today is proud to be a truly Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines servicing a network stretching across all Asean countries as well as China, India and Australia. AirAsia was named the World’s Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax for five consecutive years from 2009 – 2013 and the ‘World’s Leading Low Cost Airline’ at the 2013 World Travel Awards.
Airlink connects commercial airlines and humanitarian aid organizations for air and cargo transportation. Through the Airlink program, we assist disaster response teams with timely mobilization to affected areas. Our program helps disaster victims receive delivery of necessary relief, supplies and the support that ultimately will help them rebuild their lives. Our reach is global; our air transportation network is constantly expanding as crisis, natural disasters, etc. are on the rise around the world.
Airlink has supported humanitarian initiatives on every continent, including Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the refugee crisis in Syria, regions in Oklahoma destroyed after tornados, Hurricane Sandy, the Japan tsunami and the earthquakes in Haiti and in Turkey. Since its inception in 2010, Airlink’s airline partners have flown approximately 3,300 passengers and transported 800,000 lbs. of cargo, equating to almost $1,500,000 in donated transportation.
The program depends on volunteers from the aviation community and new volunteers are always welcome.