The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit “builds partnerships with global airlines and air freight carriers, enabling it to provide free or subsidized air transport to a network of over 130 disaster response and humanitarian relief organizations,” Airlink said in a news release. The announcement noted that the Salvation Army, Project HOPE, World Central Kitchen, and MedShare are among the organizations that rely on Airlink “to help transport responders and humanitarian supplies to disaster impacted communities worldwide.”
Since January, Airlink said, it has delivered more than 7.5 million items of personal protective equipment, over 300,000 pounds of relief supplies, and medical volunteers to communities around the world that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Airlink also joined relief efforts after several hurricanes, a severe weather event in Iowa, bushfires in Australia, and an explosion of a stockpile of ammonium nitrate in Beirut.
Ford, a well-known general aviation pilot and advocate, recorded a video at his California hangar announcing his participation and noting that the 10-year-old organization “harnesses the power of aviation to save lives and rebuild communities” after natural disasters. The video can be viewed on Airlink’s website and YouTube channel.
Ford and Airlink are “a great match for one another,” said Airlink President Steven J. Smith in the organization’s announcement. “It is an honor to have Harrison involved with promoting the work of Airlink as we and our aviation and nonprofit partners continue to deliver aid to communities impacted by natural and man-made disasters.”
Corporate sponsors and partners of Airlink include United Airlines, Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Aircastle, Polar Air Cargo, Deloitte, and Flexport. Philanthropic support has come from foundations including the ISTAT Foundation, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and Clara Lionel Foundation, Airlink said.
Airlink estimates that its airline partners have flown nearly 7,000 relief workers and transported more than 3.5 million pounds of humanitarian cargo, saving humanitarian groups more than $11 million in air-transport costs.