By Ron Howells • 23 August 2021 • 8:16
US orders six commercial airlines to provide transport for Afghans and Americans in Middle East
US orders six commercial airlines to provide transport for Afghans and Americans in the Middle East.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III on Sunday, August 22, activated stage 1 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), ordering six commercial airlines to provide passenger planes to help evacuate people from US military bases in the Middle East, the Department of Defense said in a news release.
The planes will not fly in or out of the Kabul airport in Afghanistan but instead will help transport Afghans and US citizens who have arrived at bases in Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
The plan calls for 18 planes total; four from United Airlines, three each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Airlines, and Omni Air, and two from Hawaiian Airlines. The DoD said in the release it doesn’t expect the CRAF activation to have a major impact on commercial flights.
Thousands of people remained outside the Kabul international airport on Sunday hoping to be evacuated as Taliban gunmen beat back crowds.
“It’s a program that was designed in the wake of the Berlin airlift after World War Two to use commercial aircraft to augment our airlift capacity,” President Joe Biden said in an address from the White House on Sunday afternoon, adding that airlines voluntarily signed up for the program.
Biden said the flights would bring people from “staging locations” like Qatar and Germany to the United States or a third country. He called it the initial stage of the program. “None of them will be landing in Kabul,” he said.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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