MONTREAL —A special cargo flight departed Toronto Pearson yesterday to help those impacted by the war in Ukraine.
Operated by Air Canada on behalf of disaster logistics non-profit Airlink and other aid organizations including Project C.U.R.E. and freight forwarder Flexport, the humanitarian flight carried medical supplies and hospital beds, as well as medical and trauma supplies destined for a Ukrainian hospital provided by Canadian disaster relief and GlobalMedic. The Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner had a final destination of Warsaw, Poland.
After arriving in Poland, Project C.U.R.E. will manage the distribution of supplies to hospitals treating Ukrainian civilians injured during the war, expanding the capacity of hospitals in border regions to provide care. More than two million people throughout Ukraine have now fled their homes after the invasion seeking safety in neighbouring countries. Primary care has been identified by aid agencies as one of the most pressing needs.
“Our hearts are with the Ukrainian people in need, all of us have seen the crisis they are facing. We know from our air partners the critical requirement for much needed medical and humanitarian suppliers and our global partner Airline reached out to us to help transport these vital items quickly,” said Jason Berry, Vice President, Cargo at Air Canada. “Importantly, both Airlink and GlobalMedic have the infrastructure and teams on the ground to ensure that the shipments will get to their destinations right after our flight arrives.”
Steve Smith, Airlink President and CEO, said the shipment will make a “material impact” on the lives of Ukrainians.
“Getting the shipment to Poland on behalf of our NGO partner Project C.U.R.E. meant overcoming a challenging logistical environment, but I’m thrilled we could do it with assistance from our long-time friends and supporters, Air Canada. This is the first of many cargo movements Airlink will carry out in support of Ukrainian refugees,” said Smith.
Earlier this week, medical suppliers were picked up from the Project C.U.R.E. warehouse in Illinois, transported to Chicago O’Hare airport and tendered to Air Canada by Flexport. Air Canada Cargo subsequently transported the supplies to its Cargo facility at Toronto Pearson.
As a non-profit disaster logistics expert, Airlink helps remove the cost of air transportation as a barrier to NGOs responding to disasters and other humanitarian crises. It was able to use its long-term partnership with Air Canada and support from donors to secure the cargo-only flight. Airline has also transported 42 relief workers for 11 non-profit organizations, providing medical care, food, mental health counselling, clean water and other essentials to Ukrainian refugees.
This is not the first time Air Canada has worked with Airlink and GlobalMedic. Prior to this, all three partners most recently joined forces to aid in British Columbia’s devastating wildfires and floods.