When roads are impassable or infrastructure is destroyed, WFP turns to the skies to quickly bring both humanitarian cargo and aid workers to communities in the most inaccessible places on the planet. Whether the cause is flood or earthquake, cyclone or war, WFP Aviation operates on the front lines of hunger.
When situations on land render surface transport impossible, WFP organizes airlifts that deploy life-saving food assistance by plane within 48 hours. The Aviation team does not only serve WFP: reliable and cost-efficient air transport of food and non-food cargoes is made available to the entire humanitarian community, including UN agencies and NGOs. When necessary, WFP also performs air drops by flying over designated ‘drop zones’ and releasing aid cargos from high above, thereby serving remote populations through a rapid and targeted response.
As the world’s leading humanitarian airline, the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) currently has a fleet of more than 50 chartered aircraft, including helicopters, deployed to operations around the world. Aid workers in the deep field, with no other means of transportation, rely on UNHAS to bring them to some of the world’s most remote and isolated communities, where commercial airlines do not fly. With air services to over 250 regular destinations in 20 countries, UNHAS carried more than 240,800 humanitarian passengers in 2014.
Passenger safety is at the forefront of all WFP Aviation operations. WFP’s Aviation Safety Unit, headquartered in Rome with regional offices in Kenya, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, is responsible for ensuring adequate levels of safety. All WFP humanitarian air operations are in accordance with United Nations Common Aviation Safety Standards and the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards and best practices.
For more information on WFP's aviation service, please contact wfp.aviationinformation@wfp.
More WFP food was transported by air in 2014 than at any time in almost a decade. More than 70,000 metric tonnes of food and non-food commodities were delivered by airlift, air freight, and airdrop. WFP Aviation delivered food and non-food relief items in response to various emergencies, which included devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, conflict in Central African Republic, Iraq, Syria, and Ukriane, and the Ebola crisis in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The vast majority of airlifts were neded in South sudan, where airdrops were also conducted. Due to the resumption of heavy fighting in December 2013 and the lack of access, air transport was the only way to reach food-insecure populations.
- Passengers: 240,885 (excluding 139,166 transits)
- Cargo: 3,931 metric tonnes
- Regular destinations: 258
- People evacuated: 2,637
Airlift, Airfrieght, and Passenger Services (excluding UNHAS)
- Cargo: 36,984 metric tonnes
- Passengers: 1,297
- 36,381 metric tonnes of food