Airlink’s work covers all phases of emergency relief – preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. In addition, the organization works with partners in both the humanitarian and aviation sectors to build individual and collective capacity to respond to emergencies.
How does Airlink decide which disasters to respond to?
Airlink follows strict criteria when deciding whether or not to mobilize its airline partners for a response.
In an international emergency, the Humanitarian Programs team will look for a country or UN declaration of the need for international assistance. In a domestic emergency, a disaster declaration made by the state emergency management agency and/or FEMA is required for Airlink to provide assistance to its nonprofit partners.
We encourage all of our nonprofit partners to respect the decisions of government entities – both foreign and domestic – and we do not enable “self-deployment” in cases where international aid is not welcome.
The number of people affected (as a proportion of the population of the area), number of deaths, and number of injuries are all indicative of humanitarian need. When a rapid-onset disaster strikes a relatively unpopulated area, there is often no need to dispatch international assistance.
“Do our partners need airlift?” is the single most important question we ask following a rapid-onset emergency. If a need can be adequately met through existing staffing frameworks and pre-positioned stocks or ground transportation, an air response may not be a good use of our airline partners’ assets.
We work with our nonprofit partners, as well as multilateral organizations such as the World Food Programme Logistics Cluster, to understand the existing NGO presence in-country and the need for surge capacity to support a government-led response.
Airlink partners proactively with nonprofit relief organizations and airlines to anticipate transportation needs in response to emergencies around the world. In addition, we collaborate on both a bilateral and network-wide basis with our NGO and airline partners to build their international response capacity through joint trainings and exercises.
Airlink routinely produces guidance notes, videos, after-action reviews, and other publications to encourage continuous learning and collaboration among its nonprofit and aviation partners in the area of logistics. Also included here are guides for airlines, and corporations on their role in humanitarian relief.