How Airbus supports international humanitarian organisations as they work against the clock to manage disasters such as Hurricane Irma, the earthquakes in Mexico or the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Over the last 20 years, 90% of disasters around the world have been caused by weather extremes, such as floods, storms, heatwaves or droughts. These disasters have caused more than 600,000 deaths, according to United Nations figures. And climate change is altering the frequency, intensity and geographical distribution of some of these extreme events, with more changes expected in the future.
Airbus supports international humanitarian organisations as they work against the clock to manage catastrophes such as weather-related disasters, earthquakes and tsunamis.
Since 2008, Airbus has organised 64 flights to transport 800 tonnes of humanitarian aid, putting its fleet of aircraft at the disposal of its partners, such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC).
An example of this collaboration was the emergency flight organised to provide relief on the islands of Barbuda, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy, which had no electricity or drinking water in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
On 13 September 2018, one of Airbus’ test aircraft – an A350 XWB – took off from Toulouse and flew to Paris Charles de Gaulle, where 84 medical personnel and 30 tonnes of humanitarian aid were waiting. At 18:30 local time it landed at Pointe-à-Pitre Airport in the Guadeloupe archipelago. “Having a free aircraft at our disposal saved us hundreds of thousands of euros, leaving us with more resources to start up projects on the ground,” explains Aude Saintoyant of the French Red Cross.
In parallel of coordinating with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and other NGOs for the delivery of relief goods, the Airbus Foundation verifies availability of aircraft with Airbus’ flight test team. This group, which includes pilots, engineers and ground support, is the heart and soul of Airbus’ humanitarian response.
“Once an aircraft is secured, we optimise its testing configuration for the loading, prepare a flight plan and request authorisation to fly to the destination,” explains Jean Philippe Cottet, head of development flight tests at Airbus, who flew the A350 XWB to Guadeloupe.
Every time we organise one of these humanitarian flights, hundreds of people come forward to offer help, be it for logistics or loading. It is a great satisfaction to witness this spirit and feel that we can be useful.
Jean Philippe Cottet
Thus far in the US alone, Aerial has assisted with Hurricane Harvey and Irma in September 2017 along with California’s wildfires in October 2017 and December 2017. The platform compares imagery of the affected area(s) before and after the event, and allows claims agents to pinpoint each policy location and make efficient decisions, getting the insured back on their feet faster than ever before.