Members of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) have pledged to donate $110,000, at the time of going to press, to the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres, to help fight Ebola in West Africa.
The pledge came after FIATA started a fund of $3,000, which was followed by 1,000 members pledging more than $110,000 to help combat the disease, at the FIATA World Congress gala dinner in Istanbul (Turkey) on 17 October. FIATA says it started with an off-the-cuff comment in the advisory body safety and security meeting about the devastation caused by the disease. FIATA director general, Marco Sorgetti tells Air Cargo Week (ACW): “The decision was out of the blue, creating a fund that will deliver to the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. We plan fortnightly or monthly payments on a one-to-one basis as money comes in.” He says that FIATA is looking to host offers for logistics on its website. Sorgetti also tells ACW that some senior members of FIATA will be donating personally to the fund.
FIATA president, Francesco Parisi, says: “This remarkable and spontaneous endeavour just goes to highlight what quality the FIATA membership has and what can be accomplished when we enthusiastically combine our strengths and generosity into the action of one determined body with good intentions.”
A number of airlines and logistics companies have been helping send aid to combat Ebola, which has claimed more than 4,500 lives across West African nations including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. On 14 October, Volga-Dnepr transported three Mil Mi-8 helicopters from Moscow to Freetown for the United Nations’ emergency health mission.
The flight was operated using one of Volga-Dnepr’s Antonov An-124 Freighters, flying from Moscow to Freetown. To load the helicopters into the cargo hold of the An-124, Volga-Dnepr applied a loading plan specially developed for the carriage of rotor-wing machines. This involves demounting propellers, vibration absorbers, fuel tanks, and removing fluids from the shock struts and wheels. This reduces the height of the helicopters enabling them to be loaded onboard the An-124 alongside the demounted equipment.