Help is on the Way: Aviation Industry, Businesses and Charities Join Forces to Improve Disaster Response

Help is on the Way: Aviation Industry, Businesses and Charities Join Forces to Improve Disaster Response

WASHINGTON — Humanitarian relief organization Airlink announced today a partnership to improve disaster response as part of a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action. The commitment titled “Help is on the Way” aims to build a global disaster response network of airlines, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other donors dedicated to improving the process through which disaster response services are provided.

To ensure a rapid response, aid organizations frequently fly supplies and personnel to impacted areas following disasters and during humanitarian crises. Damaged infrastructure, competition for limited flights, and the remoteness of the communities impacted can make disaster-related transportation difficult to navigate and costly for the charities responding.

Airlink, a nonprofit organization working with global aviation businesses to coordinate donated or reduced-rate air transport for qualified aid organizations, is leading the partnership. “Through this partnership, the time between disaster onset and the delivery of critical supplies and relief workers will be reduced, thus ensuring survivors receive the assistance they need regardless of their location,” said Steven J. Smith, Airlink executive director.

When fully funded and implemented over the next three years, the partnership will result in $3M in donated airlift services. Donated transportation means NGOs can apply more of their resources to providing food, access to clean water, shelter, medical aid and other essential assistance to some of the world’s most vulnerable beneficiaries.

NGOs agreeing to utilize the partnership during crises include Afya Foundation, AmeriCares, ChildFund International, Last Mile Health, Project Concern International, Team Rubicon Global and Save the Children.

“When disaster strikes, children are always the most vulnerable, and they have no time to lose,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. “Too often, a lack of transportation can cause critical delays, or the associated costs can take away from the programs on the ground.  Save the Children is very grateful to Airlink for their partnership, which will help ensure our rapid response teams can provide lifesaving care and supplies to children and families duringemergencies, anywhere in the world.”

Recognizing the important role of aviation in disaster response, airline companies are lending their expertise and capacity to the initiative. Airlines participating in the partnership with the anticipation of offering donated services include Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Brussels Airlines.

“Airlines, like other companies, must be socially responsible and go beyond simply flying people and cargo from point-to-point,” said Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines. “Bringing people together is our credo, not only to meet each other in times of celebration, but also to bring solutions and support in case of need.”

Corporate and foundation supporters of the commitment include Airbnb,, The Greenbaum Foundation and Salesforce Foundation. Logistics partners include American Logistics Aid Network and LIFT.

Additional financial contributions are being sought to help the partnership provide flights when airlines are unable to donate their services due to lack of capacity and other restrictions. Those interested in contributing to the initiative can do so by donating to Airlink via or by calling +1 202.573.8686.



Airlink is a disaster relief organization that links airlines with pre-qualified nonprofits for passenger and cargo transportation. Airlink’s rapid response business model supports the delivery of the right aid to the right people in a timely manner. With a global air transportation network that is constantly expanding as crises and natural disasters continue to occur around the world, Airlink has supported humanitarian initiatives on every continent. Since its inception in 2010, Airlink’s airline partners have flown approximately 3,700 passengers and transported over 3,100,000 pounds of cargo. For more information, please visit


Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.

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