A groundbreaking humanitarian relief aid initiative from the UAE took flight today at the Dubai Air Show 2009. Maximus Air Cargo, the UAE’s largest air cargo solutions provider joined forces with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, and Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), to launch ‘Care by Air’. Supporting members included the UAE Red Crescent and the United Nation World Food Programme (WFP).
Maximus Air Cargo President and CEO Fathi Hilal Al Buhazza together with Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan and ADAC’s Senior Vice President Operations Ahmed Al Haddabi pledged their support as founding members by signing a memorandum of understanding. The document was also signed by supporting members represented by Ahmed Humaid Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority and Finbarr Curran, Country Director of the United Nations World Food Programme.
According to IATA figures, only 70 per cent of the maximum cargo loading capacity is used across the world. This means four million tonnes of empty space, every week, every year in more than 3,400 airports across 220 countries. If just 0.0003 per cent of this space were to be filled, then five million people in need could be fed for a day. These facts provided the rationale for Care by Air and the idea to expedite relief aid across the world within a sound commercial framework.
Care by Air will provide cargo services to relief and humanitarian organisations at cost across its network of partner organisations and businesses, ensuring the distribution of aid and vital supplies in times of need.
With Maximus, Etihad Airways and ADAC already on board as founding members and strong supporting members such as UAE Red Crescent and the UN World Food Programme, it is expected that further partner organisations will soon join the worthy cause. They are likely to include airlines, cargo companies, commercial parties, auditors, oil and gas companies and airports.
James Hogan, chief executive of Etihad Airways said “As the national airline of the UAE we are uniquely placed to support the Emirate’s humanitarian aid initiatives both in our community and further afield. We are proud to work alongside local partners as part of Care by Air.”
Adding to this, ADAC’s Senior Vice President Operations, Ahmed Al Haddabi, underscored the commitment of Abu Dhabi Airports Company saying “With a sustainable business model behind it, ‘Care by Air’ represents a perfect example of how private and public businesses can work together for mutual benefit, and play an active role in supporting humanitarian programmes. I hope that our efforts will demonstrate to many other companies how they can creatively and financially integrate a social responsibility agenda into the fabric of their organisations.”
Finbarr Curran, UAE country director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) highlighted the enormous potential of public-private partnerships and welcomed the opportunity to work with such respected companies. Expressing his enthusiasm for the initiative, he conveyed WFP’s interest in developing the concept in innovative ways.
Ahmed Humaid Al Mazrouei, chairman of the UAE Red Crescent also underscored the value of such a partnership: "The UAE Red Crescent's mission is to mobilise humanitarian forces to aid those in need. Care by Air is an ideal opportunity to co-operate and partner with organisations in the UAE to facilitate this worthy mission and we are very proud to be a part of it."
Finally, Fathi Hilal Buhazza, Maximus Air Cargo’s president and CEO summed up “Maximus Air Cargo’s commitment to humanitarian and relief operations is passionate and working alongside our Care by Air partners, we are proud to launch such a worthy cause from the UAE continuing in the footsteps of the greatest humanitarian of all, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”
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