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US Airlines React to Government Orders to Provide Planes for Afghanistan Evacuations

The United States Government has ordered several of the top airlines in America to provide planes to the military as part of an effort to speed up Afghanistan evacuation efforts.

According to, Pentagon officials revealed the commercial aircraft would not be flown directly in Afghanistan, but instead would be dispatched to military bases or key transportation points in Europe and the Middle East.


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“We embrace the responsibility to quickly respond to international challenges like these and use our expertise to ensure the safe passage of our fellow countrymen and women as well as those who have risked their lives to help keep them safe,” a United spokesperson told

As part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), a total of 18 commercial aircraft will be used by the U.S. government. Carriers supporting the program include American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Omni Air and United Airlines.

“CRAF activation provides the Department of Defense access to commercial air mobility resources to augment our support to the Department of State in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and personnel, Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and other at-risk individuals from Afghanistan,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said.

President Joe Biden said Sunday the U.S. would conduct “thorough security screening” of non-citizens or permanent residents before they are permitted to reach American soil. The first flights departed Sunday from Germany to Qatar.

“American is part of the CRAF program and is proud to fulfill its duty to help the U.S. military scale this humanitarian and diplomatic rescue mission,” an American spokesperson said. “The images from Afghanistan are heartbreaking. The airline is proud and grateful of our pilots and flight attendants, who will be operating these trips to be a part of this life-saving effort.”

The U.S. carriers involved in the CRAF have deployed some of their largest planes, especially as international travel demand remains down due to concerns associated with coronavirus and the Delta variant.

“For decades, Delta has actively played a role in supporting the U.S. Military and our troops,” Delta Chief of Operations John Laughter said. “And we are again proud to pledge Delta people and our aircraft in support our country’s relief efforts.”

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