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Hawaiian Airlines activated by Pentagon to assist with Afghanistan evacuation mission

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2020
                                Two Hawaiian Airlines aircraft were activated by the Defense Department as part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet to help with evacuations from Kabul airport in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced today.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2020

    Two Hawaiian Airlines aircraft were activated by the Defense Department as part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet to help with evacuations from Kabul airport in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced today.

Two Hawaiian Airlines aircraft are among 18 being activated by the Defense Department as part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet to help with evacuations from Kabul airport in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced today.

Civil Reserve activation provides the U.S. military “access to commercial air mobility resources to augment our support to the Department of State in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and personnel, Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and other at-risk individuals from Afghanistan,” the Defense Department said in a release.

The activation is for 18 aircraft: three each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and Omni Air; two from Hawaiian Airlines; and four from United Airlines.

The Defense Department said it does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights from this activation.

“CRAF-activated aircraft will not fly into Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul,” the release said. “They will be used for the onward movement of passengers from temporary safe havens and interim staging bases.” Those staging bases were not detailed.

The civil aircraft activation “increases passenger movement beyond organic capability and allows military aircraft to focus on operations in and out of in Kabul.”

The airlines were tapped after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the commander of U.S. Transportation Command to activate “Stage I” of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.

The reserve air fleet is a national emergency preparedness program intended to augment the Defense Department’s airlift capability.

The commercial carriers retain their civil status under Federal Aviation Administration regulations while U.S. Transportation Command exercises mission control via its air component, Air Mobility Command, the Pentagon said.

According to the release, this is the third CRAF activation in the history of the program. The first occurred in support of Operations Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-91, while the second was for Operation Iraqi Freedom in the 2002-03 time frame.

The Defense Department said its “ability to project military forces is inextricably linked to commercial industry, which provides critical transportation capacity as well as global networks to meet day-to-day and contingency requirements.”

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