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Airlines Taking Action: How U.S. Carriers are Serving Communities During COVID-19

During these unprecedented times, U.S. passenger and cargo carriers are leading efforts to transport critical medical supplies and deliver essential goods throughout the country. Over the last several weeks, carriers have started flying medical responders free of charge to states significantly impacted by the pandemic and working with stakeholders to transport lifesaving resources to critical regions across the country. Combating coronavirus is a team effort and carriers are tirelessly working around the clock to serve local communities and keep the world connected.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines transported materials to create 210,000 hospital-grade masks for 51 hospitals across the western United States. Later, Alaska shipped almost 25,000 masks to the state of Alaska as a part of its partnership with Providence Health and Services for distribution to medical professionals in the highest need areas of the state. Alaska teams donated 200 N95 masks to healthcare workers and hospitals, and flew medical responders to New York City to assist with the city’s coronavirus response. Additionally, the carrier donated 300 retired entertainment tablets to people in isolation and recovery centers in King County, Washington. The Alaska Airlines Foundation has also awarded $315,000 to 23 nonprofits in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington for critical community needs.

Atlas Air Worldwide

Atlas Air partnered with Flexport’s Frontline Fund to charter resources to those on the front lines, including a shipment of 65 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) with 4.5 million face masks, 121,300 surgical gloves and 16,000 hazmat suits to the San Francisco Bay area. Atlas also donated air cargo to NYU Langone Health to transport two flights filled with medical supplies for frontline responders.

American Airlines

American Airlines raised more than $2 million for the American Red Cross with customers raising more than $1 million during the first 24 hours of the campaign. American donated thousands of supplies to communities on the frontlines of coronavirus, delivering 1,000 onboard amenity kits to Mount Sinai in New York, 2,400 amenity kits to Dana-Farber and 5,000 pandemic kits to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The carrier has donated more than 81,000 pounds of food from inflight service and Admirals Club lounges to food banks across the country. In addition, team members created care packages for servicemembers and recruited food and monetary donations from the Robert Irvine Foundation and Gary Sinise Foundation, all of which were delivered by American Airlines Cargo.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines is supporting medical volunteers through offering free flights to Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan and New Jersey through June to assist with states’ coronavirus response. Additionally, Delta Flight Products, along with the Delta TechOps division, has partnered with Global Center for Medical Innovation to manufacture protective medical face shields and has increased production to 1,500 per day with the goal of manufacturing 5,000 shields daily. The carrier donated more than 20,000 pounds of food from inflight service and Delta Sky Clubs to hospitals, community food banks and other organizations.

FedEx Express

Currently, FedEx has moved an estimated five million test swabs throughout the U.S. for COVID-19 testing so far and is conducting Project Airbridge flights, transporting more than 450,000 protective suits, seven million facemasks and additional PPE and anesthesia supplies. A recent Project Airbridge flight arrived in Chicago with more than seven million masks and other critical supplies. The carrier is collaborating with aid organizations such as International Medical Corps to transport 22 crates with 10 medical shelters and three triage tents to hospitals in Los Angeles County.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is serving its local community through offering medical professionals complimentary flights to neighboring islands to support response efforts during April. The carrier established a transportation service in order to provide complimentary cargo transportation to the residents on the rural islands of Moloka‘i and Lāna‘I. Ohana by Hawaiian will transport two packages at no cost for O’ahu shippers who are sending food or household items to the two islands. In addition, Hawaiian chartered a flight to transport nearly two million face masks to the islands.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue is providing free flights to medical professionals, non-profits and students and working with non-profit partners and NGOs to transport supplies to where they are needed the most. The carrier partnered with Mercury Medical to donate 2,500 disposable CPAP devices to New York State, with JetBlue also flying 2,400 pounds of cargo containing the donated devices. Additionally, JetBlue donated cots, blankets, pillows and inflight amenity kits to help Mount Sinai’s medical staff in New York and snacks to healthcare workers at the Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest has offered complimentary cargo transport to FEMA, its disaster response partners and Medical Transportation Grant Program hospitals. Qualified 501(c)(3) organizations can ship medical supplies on cargo-only charter flights. The carrier also transported COVID-19 test kits and encouraging people to support the American Red Cross. Additionally, Southwest donated $400,000 worth of product used during in-flight snack and beverage service, equaling 13 tractor-trailers full of food to 15 food banks in the Feeding America network.

United Airlines

United Airlines is partnering with New York City, California and New Jersey to provide free, round-trip flights to medical volunteers flying to those regions to assist with the coronavirus response. The carrier has partnered with Flexport to transport essential medical supplies, including 300,000 masks, 70,000 goggles and 1,000 ventilators to medical facilities in New York. United has also joined with Airlink and MedShare to fly 50,000 N95 face masks from San Francisco International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport. In addition, United converted its empty cargo facility in Houston, Texas into a food distribution center to assist the Houston Food Bank and has donated thousands of pounds of food and amenity kits to charities and medical personnel..

UPS

UPS has donated tens of thousands of masks to medical and law enforcement personnel, including 10,000 N95 respirator masks each to Kentucky’s Emergency Management Agency, the Long Beach fire and police departments, the Nevada Department of Public Safety and Wayne County Michigan’s sheriff’s department. UPS also partnered with the University of Louisville to ship PPE to healthcare workers, including face shields created using 3D printing. UPS will also manage 25 charter flights in support of Project Airbridge to deliver more than three million pounds of critical medical supplies to the U.S. UPS’s Healthcare division has opened a 450,000 square-foot distribution facility with dedicated space for FEMA. In addition, UPS will ship ventilators produced by GM and VentecLife Systems to hospitals in Illinois.

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