Air Canada employees volunteer to help Global Medic send relief to Ukraine

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Air Canada’s Boeing 767-300 freighter aircraft departed on Monday from Toronto to Frankfurt, transporting 50 tonnes of humanitarian and medical aid on behalf of Airlink, Flexport.org and Global Medic.

The flight carried aid including medical and trauma supplies, water purification and sanitation kits destined for an area north of Lviv, Ukraine.

After the flight arrives, Airlink’s NGO partner GlobalMedic will have response teams manage the distribution of supplies to treat Ukrainian civilians who have been displaced by the conflict whose homes have been destroyed. They will also help the injured, expanding the capacity of hospitals in border regions.

Packing emergency bags

One hundred Air Canada employees volunteered their time to pack emergency family food kits being sent by GlobalMedic. The flight carried about 100,000 pounds of assistance for displaced families fleeing the fighting in Ukraine. The cargo contained 6,400 Family Emergency Kits. Each kit includes emergency food items, a solar light, water purification tablets, and a trauma bag. The items are packed in sealed buckets that are used to collect water to purify and drink.

“GlobalMedic is grateful to Airlink for coordinating this flight and to Air Canada for flying the mission,” said Rahul Singh, executive director of GlobalMedic.

Covering costs for NGOs

Non-profit disaster logistics expert Airlink helps carry the cost of air transportation that prevents non-governmental organizations (NGOs) responding to disasters and other humanitarian crises. It was able to use its long-term partnership with Air Canada, the coordination provided by the Flexport platform, and support from donors, to secure the cargo-only flight.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Airlink also has transported more than 135 tonnes of aid and 221 relief workers for 20 non-profit organizations providing medical care, food, mental health counseling, clean water, and other essentials to Ukrainian refugees.

“Our hearts are with the Ukrainian people in need. By utilizing our 767-300 freighter aircraft and Air Canada Cargo’s global network, we are able to carry important humanitarian aid to those affected efficiently, and importantly, with GlobalMedic’s infrastructure on the ground, the aid is delivered to impacted areas quickly,” said Sebastian Cosgrove, director, global customer service at Air Canada Cargo.

Coordination critical

Steve Smith, president and CEO of Airlink, pointed out that the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Ukraine. “Co-operation and coordination are critical to overcoming the supply chain challenges that have arisen responding to this crisis, and for the second time since the war began this partnership has proved itself a very effective one,” he said.

The second humanitarian cargo flight is Air Canada’s most recent initiative supporting the crisis in Ukraine. On March 9, Air Canada-operated humanitarian special cargo flight on behalf of Airlink and other aid partners transport hospital beds, humanitarian and medical supplies to Warsaw, Poland and medicines destined for Lviv, Ukraine

The carrier has also helped by donating Aeroplan Points to facilitate the travel of Ukrainians to Canada, donating cash from both corporate coffers and employees to Ukraine relief aid, and transporting rapid response teams to scale up operations in Europe to help arriving Ukrainian families.