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Pentagon compels commercial airlines to help with evacuation

Pentagon compels commercial airlines to assist with evacuation ( More...

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The headline suggests that the airlines are being forced in to this. My understanding is that this a long time contract where the govenment can call on them for needed additional caapacity so I would classify this as voluntary.
matt jensen 7
I don't think they have a choice, They have something similar to US vessel documentation papers that the govt can use your vessel whenever they want - like in a national emergency. Even from one they inadvertently created.
Airlines have a choice to join the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Once they join, they have to provide specific airframe listing that they can crew that would be sent if 'activated'. Thus, this list is updated constantly based on the airlines best interests (as long as they meet the required numbers for each stage of activation).

see as an example. (I could not find a current one, but if that link does not work try searching for ----> October 2015 CRAF DOT Memo.pdf

In return, the airlines get contracts from DoD to move personal and/or supplies on a routine bases. One could look at CRAF as the price of admission to getting DoD money or simply see it for what it is, a cooperative agreement that has been in place over 60 years.

There were some heavy handed growing pains in the early 50s. The Air Force went as far as wanting to shape the number and amount of cargo aircraft the airlines operated. More like the model that Matt implies. But, CRAF became the current free-market contract approach in 1959 with this current activation only being the third during that period. I'm guessing that airlines were ready in this case to bring in some aircraft sidelined due to COVID-influenced travel volumes. Thus, I suspect this was welcomed.
Agree but the headline implies that this is new when it has been in place for years
Neil49 2
Agree the headline is not quite accurate, but check the source. Anything to make Big Bad Government look bad.
Neil49 2
See my comment above.
Neil49 3
Correct. the Civil Reserve Aircraft Fleet (CRAF) is a contracted agreement between the U.S. government and commercial airlines whereby the airlines provide airlift services as needed in times of emergency to supplement military air transport.

The airlines in turn receive a guarantee of flight business in peacetime for those airlines who join the program, which has existed for 70 years or so.
30west 2
You are correct that the DOD is in contractual agreements with numerous U.S. air carriers to provide aircraft and crews (four crews per aircraft) when activated. They are required to provided the aircraft and crews within a very short response time depending upon the CRAF activation status level. The airlines are required per contract to provide their services when called upon. Below is an excerpt from DOD website addressing the CRAF mission.

"The airlines contractually pledge aircraft to the various segments of CRAF, ready for activation when needed. To provide incentives for civil carriers to commit aircraft to the CRAF program and to assure the United States of adequate airlift reserves, the government makes peacetime DoD airlift business available to civilian airlines that offer aircraft to the CRAF. The DoD offers business through the CRAF Charter Airlift Services contract".
mbrews 3
On 23 Aug, N820NW a widebody A333 is operating as DAL 8941 from OTBH to EDFH. Thats scheduled for 7.5 hours from Doha Al Udeid to Frankfurt-Hahn. Flightaware also shows DAL 8941 scheduled to operate Frankfurt-Hahn to Washington Dulles, but that might change due to the other circumstances. Other aircraft in-theater for the airline callup include Deltas A333 N810NW. Earliest likely to arrive in USA is UA2578, a United B773, regis N2352U, in the air August 23 from Ramstein Germany slated to arrive Washington Dulles Monday at 2 PM Eastern.
Richard Loven 2
This goes back before WW2. Companies that contract with the Government have clauses in the contract that in time of national emergency have to perform work that the government requires. One example was the Alaskan Highway. They needn’t worry. They are compensated well.
Matt West 2
I know that these aircraft will be used to shuttle the passengers from staging posts to the US. What I can't figure out is which type is Alaska going to use? They don't have any widebodies and, as far as I know, none of the 37's (MAX or otherwise) can do the transatlantic flight.

Anyone have any ideas/thoughts?
mbrews 2
- On Aug. 23, there was at least one Allegiant A320 flight at IAD - (Washington - Dulles) operating as a Department of Defense Charter. I couldn't confirm whether Allegiant was bringing IN military or security personnel (to IAD) or carrying OUT Afghan refugees.

What I do know is - Allegiant has plenty of narrowbodies based on the East Coast, close to IAD as well as close to Ft. Dix NJ where some of the refugees will be moved. Its also possible Allegiant was just transporting Homeland security people to IAD, to process incoming refugees. Many moving pieces in this Afghan evacuation
spatr 2
The Dod has only asked for wide bodies, not all airlines have been called upon.
Matt West 1
That would make sense. For some reason, I thought I read that Alaska was being tasked too, but I must have misread.
mbrews 1
To clarify my previous post. Flight aware records confirm that some Allegiant A320s were used Augusta 23 & 24 to operate between IAD Dulles and Volk military airfield in central Wisconsin. these were military charters. I’m not going to split hairs whether they’re officially Callups. just part of the circus surrounding the fubar Kabul exit
James Simms 3
Flew back from Desert Shield/Desert Storm mid July 1991 on a CRAF aircraft, an ex-Flying Tigers 747, had a small FedEx sticker near the door.. Dhahran to Frankfort, then to Philadelphia. Then from Philly to Dothan, AL on another CRAF aircraft to our Mobilization/Demobilization station @ Ft. Rucker (can’t remember the airline or type). Had a couple of beers in a bar waiting for our second aircraft.

Funny thing was walking through security w/a weapons case in each hand & not being stopped.
Chris Borunda 1
Wasn’t this the same program that Ernest Gann documented so well in “Fate is the Hunter,” before during and after the Second World War?
The Headlines Will Jump Off Of The Page When One Of These Passenger Airliners Gets Shot Down !!!!
Leo Cotnoir 2
Thus far no aircraft engaged in evacuations from Afghanistan have been attacked.
Jack Poole -1
The Pentagon is staffed by girl scouts
Leo Cotnoir -3
The headline reads as if it were written by Fox "News" or some other right wing crackpot outlet. The Pentagon called up the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, a long standing Pentagon program that benefits the country and the airlines. Headlines like that show how little the right cares about our country. As a veteran, I am disgusted.
skylab72 0
Right there with you Leo.
skylab72 2
Oh, And BTW it WAS written by Fox News...
Check Bylines.
To demand that commercial passenger aircraft fly into a war zone would be a crime. They have no defensive systems nor fighter escorts. A fully loaded B-787, if shot down, would result in Millions of dollars of taxpayer money being paid to settle the law suites that would follow.
Didn’t you read everything above?! They are required to provide aircraft..
Joel Allan 1
And did you even read the article? The civilian aircraft aren't flying into Kabul, but rather are transporting people from safe staging areas after they were moved there by military aircraft. Try reading the article before you comment on it.


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