The European Commission has set up an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to transport humanitarian workers and emergency supplies for the coronavirus response to some of most critical areas around the world.
Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: “Leaving any area of the world unprotected today leaves us all unprotected tomorrow. As part of our global response, the EU will open a dedicated Humanitarian Air Bridge to get aid into areas which lack supplies due to the difficulties of global transit. This can be a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable communities worldwide.”
The first EU flight, operated in cooperation with France, departed this weekend from Lyon and will transport around 60 humanitarian workers from various NGOs and 13 tonnes of humanitarian cargo. Two subsequent humanitarian cargo flights will follow in the coming days to transport a further 27 tonnes of humanitarian supplies in total. On their return leg, the Air Bridge flights will also bring back EU citizens and other passengers from the Central African Republic in a repatriation effort.
More EU humanitarian flights are being scheduled for the coming weeks, prioritising African countries where the pandemic has the potential to worsen many existing humanitarian crises.
How the Humanitarian Air Bridge works
- In a joint effort between the Commission and Member States, the Commission funds air transport of Member States’ flights to and from the proposed destinations, where possible combined with ongoing repatriation flights, also including humanitarian workers on rotation.
- Humanitarian staff from national administrations, NGOs or UN Agencies can benefit from the facility.
- The Commission finances 100% of the transport costs, whereas the EU partners remain responsible for the procurement of the humanitarian material.