Qatar Airways has formally signed a partnership agreement with US-based disaster response nonprofit Airlink promising to provide 200 tons of free freight space over the next two years.
Under the new agreement, Airlink, NGO partner AFYA Foundation and Qatar Airways conducted their first project, transporting over 64,000lbs of soap to Botswana. Hand washing is critical to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. This shipment of soap is being donated to a local organization based in Gaborone, Botswana, in order to help provide this basic, but vital, assistance. According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, 3 billion people around the world do not have access to handwashing facilities with water and soap at home. Soap is often a scarce resource, and its use is prioritized for other purposes, including dishwashing and laundry.
“We are delighted to announce this new partnership between Airlink and Qatar Airways”, said Steven J. Smith Airlink’s President and CEO, “the 200 tons of freight space is a generous donation that will help fragile communities now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and in future disasters. It greatly extends our reach and that of our nonprofit partners for years to come”.
Qatar Airways (Arabic: القطرية, al-Qaṭariya), operates a large fleet of belly-hold aircraft and 28 freighters, operating to an extensive network across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania from its hub at Hamad International Airport.
Mr. Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways said, “As the largest airfreight carrier in the world, we are proud to do our part as a global corporate citizen to support the important and essential work of nonprofit organizations like Airlink. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how essential air freight is responding to crises and we are pleased to support the work of governments and NGOs around the globe, transporting essential supplies to places where they are needed. We look forward to working with Airlink and expand this work, providing a helping hand and relief to communities around the world.”
Airlink supports over 130 aid organizations by harnessing the power of the aviation industry to provide free and subsidized airlift to humanitarian response nonprofits responding to natural and man-made disasters. Celebrating its 10th year of operation in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Airlink has moved 6.5 million pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to the US and across the globe in support of vulnerable communities.
Both Airlink and Qatar Airways have successfully worked together in the past. In April 2019, as communities in Mozambique and neighboring countries sought to recover from the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai, 19,000 pounds of aid was dispatched to fragile communities, thanks to the generosity of Qatar Airways working in conjunction with Airlink’s partner nonprofits Save the Children and MedShare.
The aid delivered included hygiene kits for women and girls and medical supplies.