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Home / World / US orders airlines to join evacuation from Kabul

US orders airlines to join evacuation from Kabul

Austin activated Stage 1 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, created in 1952 after the Berlin airlift, to provide 18 airliners to help ferry passengers arriving at bases in West Asia from Afghanistan
The Pentagon does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights, Kirby said.
The Pentagon does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights, Kirby said.
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Eric Schmitt   |   Washington   |   Published 23.08.21, 12:26 AM

Defence secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered six commercial airlines to provide passenger jets to help with the growing US military operation evacuating Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

Austin activated Stage 1 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, created in 1952 after the Berlin airlift, to provide 18 airliners to help ferry passengers arriving at bases in West Asia from Afghanistan, John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

The current activation is for 18 planes: four from United Airlines; three each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and Omni Air; and two from Hawaiian Airlines.

The Pentagon does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights, Kirby said.

Civilian planes would not fly into or out of Kabul, where a rapidly deteriorating security situation has hampered evacuation flights. 

Instead, commercial airline pilots and crews would help transport thousands of Afghans who are arriving at US bases in Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The commercial airlines would ease the burden on those bases, which are filling up rapidly as the Biden administration rushes to increase the number of flights for thousands of Afghans fearing reprisals from Taliban fighters.

From the bases in West Asia, the airliners would augment military flights carrying Afghans to Germany, Italy, Spain and other stops in Europe, and then ultimately to the US for many of the Afghans, officials said.

This is just the third time that the reserve air fleet has been activated. 

The first was during the Persian Gulf war (from August 1990 to May 1991). The second was during the Iraq war (from February 2002 to June 2003).

New York Times News Service



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