Airlink

Donate to CA wildfires relief, get bonus United Airlines miles

Get bonus United Airlines miles for donating cash to fight California wildfires

United Airlines has launched a fundraising campaign to support the people and organizations responding to the wildfires in California.

If you contribute at least $50 you’ll not only help raise funds for the campaign; you’ll get some bonus airline miles.

Here’s the deal:

United is offering MileagePlus members bonus award miles for making cash contributions of $50 or more to the three disaster relief charities listed below. The airline has set aside 5 million miles for the offer and will match contributions made to the campaign up to a total of $50,000.

Donate $50 to $99 and earn 250 bonus miles
Donate $100 to $249 and earn 500 bonus miles
Donate $250 or more and earn $1000 bonus miles

The charities that will benefit from your donation to this campaign are:

American Red Cross

Americares

Airlink

North Coast Opportunities (for the Mendocino Complex Fire)

Shasta Regional Community Foundation (for the Carr Fire).

All these organizations are doing incredible work. Here’s some information from Airlink about just soe of what they’ve been doing to help with the effort:

“The Northern California wildfires are now the largest in the state’s history and United Airlines is launching a fundraising campaign to help Californians affected by the historic blaze.

Airlink is currently responding to the fires in partnership with Operation BBQ Relief. We’ve supported flights for volunteers serving 20,000+ warm meals to displaced residents and first responders.

As the fires burn through the region, Airlink continues to work with its nonprofit partners, ready to send responders or relief cargo when and where they are needed.”

The deadline for making your contribution and getting these bonus miles is August 30, 2018

Here’s the link to donate to the United Airlines fundraising campaign in support of California Wildfires relief efforts.

I’m donating. Are you?

Airline industry, non-profits save lives with flights

Airbus Foundation

Courtesy Airbus Foundation

Airlines are reporting profits and being urged to join humanitarian efforts to help plug a $15 billion funding hole in global disaster relief.

The call comes on the heels of a United Nations report that found while at least $40 billion in annual humanitarian aid is needed annually to help victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts worldwide, today the world spends only $25 billion a year on securing and getting food, water, shelter, medical supplies, support teams and other emergency resources to people in need.

That’s twelve times the amount spent 15 years ago, the report notes. But with so many in need now, new disasters cropping up all the time and the high costs associated with rushing humanitarian relief to where it will do the most good, creative solutions are needed.

And that’s where alliances between airlines, aircraft manufactures and a variety of non-governmental organizations come in.

Through its foundation, aircraft manufacturer Airbus has been filling some otherwise empty, new aircraft being delivered to customers from its factories in Hamburg, Germany and Toulouse, France with humanitarian relief supplies destined for disaster-hit regions and communities in need.

“The flights are happening anyway and the pilots and the fuel are already paid for,” said
Airbus Foundation spokeswoman Deborah Waddon, “The NGOs arrange for the cargo, we make donations for the cost of the cargo, the loading is often done for free and the airlines cover just an incremental fuel cost for the extra cargo.”

Since 2008, airlines such as Emirates, JetBlue, South African Airways, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines and a handful of others have worked with Airbus on at least 30 delivery flights that have brought more than 250 tons of humanitarian relief to areas of Nepal, Columbia, Thailand, Africa and Haiti. On more than 15 occasions, Airbus has also used its test planes to deliver additional supplies quickly in the aftermath of disasters.

For example, a test aircraft loaded with 50 humanitarian staff and about 22 tons of food and medical aid flew to Nepal in 2015 after the devastating earthquake. And a Nepal Airlines aircraft delivery flight was used to transport more than five ton of relief goods and medical equipment to Kathmandu.

“Transporting supplies is one of our main expenses, so this way we can support more people,” said Olaug Bergseth, a senior officer for corporate partnerships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, one of the NGOs that works closely with Airbus. “It’s faster, it’s more efficient and it’s cheaper.”

Courtesy Boeing

 

Through its Humanitarian Delivery Flight program, the Boeing Company also works with nonprofit and NGOs to load everything from medical supplies and clothing to educational materials into the empty cargo space of new airplanes for transport and delivery to areas of need.

Since 1992, Boeing’s program has made 180 humanitarian delivery flights, working with more than 50 airline customers to deliver more than 1.4 million pounds of supplies.

At least 26 of those humanitarian delivery flights have been on Ethiopian Airlines, which has also helped its neighbor, Somalia, by bringing back needed supplies.

“These flights have helped transform lives with their precious cargo,” said Bill McSherry, vice president of Government Operations at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Airlink worked with Avianca Airlines to get earthquake relief supplies to Ecuador

Courtesy Airlink

Delivery flights don’t always get relief supplies exactly where they need to go, so Boeing often teams up with Airlink, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit disaster relief organization that works with more than 35 airlines and more than 60 NGOs, to transport supplies and relief workers.

“We focus a lot on disaster response, but also on what you might call slow-burn events, such as an education program in Africa that is teaching children not to play with land mines and other remnants of war,” said Airlink Executive Director Steven Smith.

Smith notes that since more than 60 percent of humanitarian funding goes to supply chain costs, the transportation and coordination services airlines and Airlink provide can help NGOs stretch budgets and be more effective.

During the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa, for example, Airlink sent healthcare workers and 100 shipments of aid for 37 different NGOs using 11 airlines.

And more recently, Airlink used donated miles and funds from Air Canada, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines to send 19 military veterans from Team Rubicon USA and Team Rubicon Canada to Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada to help out residents returning home after devastating wildfires destroyed more than 2,400 homes.

(My story about airline industry efforts to help save lives first appeared on CNBC in a slightly different form.)