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 some of the world's most inaccessible places. Whether the cause is flood or earthquake, cyclone or war, WFP Aviation provides access.
When situations on land render surface transport impossible, WFP Aviation organizes airlifts that deploy life-saving 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 NGOs and UN agencies. When necessary, WFP also performs airdrops by flying over designated ‘drop zones’ and releasing aid cargoes 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 70 chartered aircraft, including helicopters, deployed to various 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, often where commercial airlines do not fly. With air services to over 300 regular destinations in 19 countries, UNHAS carried more than 285,000 humanitarian passengers in 2015.
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 Aviation Safety Standards (UNAVSTADs) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and best practices.
For more information on WFP Aviation services, please contact wfp.aviationinformation@wfp.
Excluding staging areas and hubs, such as Senegal and Ghana, in 2015 UNHAS operated in 19 countries. These were: Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen; Nepal, in response to the earthquake; and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, in response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak. Overall, UNHAS transported 287,000 passengers for NGOs, UN agencies and humanitarian implementing partners, as well as diplomats and donor representatives.
In 2015, WFP Aviation coordinated delivery of 62,500 metric tons of cargo by airlift, airfreight and airdrop for WFP and partners. It facilitated responses to several emergencies, including floods in Malawi and Mozambique, Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, the earthquake in Nepal, conflict in Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen, and the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
- Passengers: 287,106
- Cargo: 5,868 metric tonnes
- Regular destinations: 317
- People evacuated: 1,831
Airlift, Airfreight, and Passenger Services (excluding UNHAS)
- Cargo: 17,380 metric tonnes
- Passengers: 1,852
- 45,203 metric tonnes of food