FIRST GLOBAL CONFERENCE ACCLAIMED - Delegates praise inaugural Abu Dhabi event
The conference focused on aviation safety and the unique difficulties faced in transporting aid personnel and materials to sites that are often barely accessible.
“This was an excellent forum to explore and share the problems and solutions inherent in airborne humanitarian operations,” said Cesar Arroyo, head of aviation safety at the World Food Programme (WFP) which presented the conference.
Arroyo’s views were echoed by the 200-plus delegates attending from across the world who heard first-hand experience from the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and the US Federal Aviation Authority, as well as relief flight operators.
Participating organisations also included the Flight Safety Foundation, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Médecins Sans Frontières, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Air Safety Foundation, and civil aviation authorities from Africa, Asia, USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and the GCC.
The first day examined local and global regulatory issues affecting safety and security, and the second looked at air operations from the perspective of WFP and other humanitarian stakeholders.
Fathi Hilal Buhazza, president and chief executive of Maximus Air Cargo, lead sponsor of the conference, called on the aviation industry to follow the example of Maximus by carrying out humanitarian missions at cost.
Buhazza insisted humanitarian missions are good for business and are sustainable, even though they do not bring in profit as such, and adding: “The more hours your aircraft do, the lower the hourly rate will be and so the more efficient you become,” he says.
As the exclusive air relief support partner for the UAE Red Crescent, Maximus has operated close on 30 flights for the UN World Food Programme, Unicef, UN African Union, and the Sudan and Yemen Red Crescents, as well as relief flights from Czech Republic to Sudan to deliver construction equipment for the United Nations, and dozens of flights for the European Mission in Chad.
Buhazza hopes to encourage other companies to follow suit with his Care by Air programme. Maximus Air Cargo is approaching airlines and other operators, fuel suppliers, airport authorities, and handling agents asking them to join the initiative and also offer their services at cost for charity flights.
The 2010 Global Aviation Safety Conference for Humanitarian Air Operations will be held in Mexico.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the United Nations frontline agency mandated to combat global hunger. WFP operations aim to deliver food in the right time in the right place to save refugees from man-made and natural disasters.
Maximus Air Cargo is the largest all-cargo airline in the UAE and the premier operator of outsized cargo aircraft in the Middle East.
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, Maximus operates a fully-owned fleet of eight freighter aircraft, comprising Antonov An-124-100, Airbus A300-600RF, Ilyushin IL-76TD, and Lockheed L-382G Hercules.
World Food Programme
Regional Aviation Safety Officer, UAE
Phone: + 971 6 557 4799
Mobile: + 971 50 656 1019
Phone: +971 2 447 4900 ext. 306
Mobile: +971 50 505 9193
Maximus Air Cargo
P.O. Box 35367, Abu Dhabi, UAE
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