Estimated duration
2 years
Estimated total value
Alaska Air Group, Inc.; Greenbaum Foundation; Brussels Airlines; LIFT; All Hands All Hearts; Team Rubicon;; American Logistics Aid Network; Airbnb, Inc.; Childfund International; Jetblue Airways Corporation; Box, Inc.; Last Mile Health; Americares Foundation, Inc.; Afya Foundation; Save the Children; Project Concern International (PCI); Airlink

Help Is On The Way: A Disaster Response Partnership


In 2015, Airlink and its partners committed to improve disaster relief operations worldwide by securing a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), airlines, and donors that will pre-commit to provide donated and/or discounted air transportation and logistics support to enable a faster and more coordinated response. Specifically, Airlink and its partners will deliver $3,000,000 in airlift services to its NGO partners between 2015 and 2017 in partnership with airlines such as Jet Blue. This will enable a proactive solution to the transportation of both critical cargo and relief responders in the aftermath of disasters, when the humanitarian community often faces complex logistics and increased transportation costs. This commitment represents an expansion of Airlink’s current operations as it is the first time that the organization will identify pre-commitments from its partners.


Building on Airlink’s successful 2014 CGI commitment to deliver 500 tons of material aid to West Africa in the fight against Ebola by facilitating the partnerships of 35 NGOs, 10 airlines, and donor funding, Airlink commits to take a vital next step in order to: 1) support the rapid arrival of relief workers and aid cargo in the immediate aftermath of a disaster; 2) normalize the high cost of air transportation following a disaster; 3) focus on delivering the right relief aid, and; 4) identify unique air transportation solutions to alleviate pressure from the existing supply chain.

This commitment will bring together three communities that are deeply involved in reacting to humanitarian disasters: the aviation industry, the disaster response community, and the donor community. This partnership will be formed around mutual commitments by each participating member to build disaster response capacity, a proactive solution to replace the current reactive approach.

Specifically, Airlink commits to build a network of NGOs, airlines and donors that will pre-commit to provide donated and/or discounted air transportation and logistics support to aid in the delivery of disaster responders and critical cargo to affected locations. This commitment will deliver $3,000,000 in airlift services to the NGO community between 2015 and 2017.

Airlink’s partners will join this commitment and provide the following resources: Airlines will pre-commit airline seats, frequent flier miles and cargo capacity; donors will pre-commit financial resources to offset airlift costs; and NGOs will pre-commit to the provision of on-the-ground humanitarian program expertise.

This is an expansion upon Airlink’s current operations as it is the first time that Airlink will seek out pre-commitments from its partners en masse. Airlink’s mission is to facilitate the timely delivery of humanitarian aid to disaster sites throughout the world. To do so, Airlink leverages the worldwide reach of the aviation industry in partnership with the disaster response community, to transport relief workers and material aid cargo essential to emergency response and recovery efforts.

Airlink will identify 30 NGOs, 30 airlines, and at least 15 financial donors over the next three years.

During this time, Airlink will continue to bring together its partners to address major disasters around the world, such as earthquakes, typhoons, and health pandemics as they occur.

Ultimately, the NGO partners will consist of those representing the following key disaster response areas:

– First Response / Search & Rescue
– Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
– Food and Nutrition
– Shelter and Infrastructure
– Healthcare

Calendar Year 2015
– Secure 10 NGO partners
– Secure commitment of five Airlines
– Secure $300,000 from financial donors
– Deliver $600,000 of air transportation services through the partnership

Calendar Year 2016
– Secure additional 10 NGO partners
– Secure additional commitment of 15 Airlines
– Secure additional $600,000 from financial donors
– Deliver additional $1,000,000 of air transportation services through the partnership

Calendar Year 2017
– Secure additional 10 NGO partners
– Secure additional commitment of 10 Airlines
– Secure additional $600,000 from financial donors
– Deliver additional $1,400,000 of air transportation services through the partnership

It should be noted, that the delivery of air transportation services is directly correlated to disasters occurring – which none of us can predict with any accuracy. That said, these goals are informed by historical organizational performance.


In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, being able to traverse the chaos and overcome logistical issues is critical. Time is of the essence. Effective and efficient logistics means the difference between relief workers and aid cargo arriving in time to help those in need and most importantly, to save lives.

When responding to disasters, the humanitarian community often faces complex logistics, increased transportation costs, and uncertainty at times about the types of aid that are truly needed. All of these factors have a downstream effect on those directly affected by disasters. According to a 2010 University of Washington study, “…response to international emergencies must be timely, effective, appropriate, and well organized” in order to “save lives and alleviate suffering.” In the face of rapid-onset disasters, many organizations find it difficult to navigate logistics made complex by “damaged infrastructure, limited transportation resources, and the sheer amounts and bulk of supplies to be transported,” as outlined in the International Journal of Production Economics, as well as the costs associated with overcoming these challenges.

In addition, the International Journal of Production Economics article further contends that “improved transportation coordination improves the overall success of the supply chain since transportation accounts for a significant percentage” of disaster logistics costs.

Progress Update

July 2017

This CGI Commitment continues to be on track with respect to value of services delivered and resources raised. Progress towards fulfillment of each of Airlink’s metrics is as follows:

Airlink has secured approximately $2,189,200 in in-kind and financial sources over the course of the first 2 years of this commitment. So far, Airlink has delivered approximately $1,713,300 in value to its nonprofit partners, working with NGOs and airlines to respond to more than 25 disasters and crises around the world.
Airlink has officially signed eight NGO partners to the Disaster Response Partnership, and over the past two years, they have worked with 38 nonprofit partners to deliver aid. Airlink has also signed four airline partners, and received one new formal commitment of 20 tickets from Aeromexico. Airlink garnered support for humanitarian initiatives from a total of 20 airlines in 2015 and 2016, however a majority of these airlines have not formally agreed to be part of the commitment.

Over the course of the three-year commitment, Airlink is working to move 1,000 relief workers and 1,000,000 pounds of cargo. To date, Airlink has helped 622 passengers and 674,000 pounds of cargo reach disasters around the world.

Partnership Opportunities

August 2016

In order to continue to grow and diversify the Airlink Disaster Response Partnership, Airlink is seeking new financial donors and logistics/airline partners to better serve areas affected by disasters.

Airlink will offer its coordination services to secure discounted or donated air transportation to NGOs desiring to deliver humanitarian supplies and relief workers to disaster-impacted areas. There will be no fee for this service. In addition, Airlink will coordinate supply chain activities and foster collaboration amongst humanitarian actors in difficult disasters and humanitarian crises.

Airlink will offer its logistical expertise in the immediate aftermath of a disaster response to humanitarian actors prioritizing response activities.

NOTE: This Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action is made, implemented, and tracked by the partners listed. CGI is a program dedicated forging new partnerships, providing technical support, and elevating compelling models with potential to scale. CGI does not directly fund or implement these projects.