Early last week, two devastating earthquakes hit the Türkiye-Syrian border. The first one, with a magnitude of 7.7, had its centre about 34 kilometres west of the city of Gaziantep. Nine hours later, a second, 7.6 magnitude earthquake, occurred 95 kilometres north-northwest from the first, in the Kahramanmaraş Province.
Followed by over 2,100 aftershocks, the earthquakes were catastrophic, causing widespread damage in southern and central Türkiye and northern and western Syria. The world reacted quickly and made all efforts to send as much help as possible, airlines playing an essential role into getting the much needed resources to the affected areas.
Aviation is playing a major role in supporting these efforts and in delivering the humanitarian aid that will be critical in sustaining people through the recovery.Willie Walsh, IATA Director General
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed its deep condolences to the people of Türkiye and Syria who have been affected by the devastating earthquake in the region. IATA highlighted the important contributions from the aviation industry to the relief effort both with the immediate search-and-rescue efforts and for long-term humanitarian aid.
“This tragedy has deeply moved us and the world. On behalf of IATA member airlines, we express our deep sorrow to the people of Türkiye and Syria. Our thoughts are with all those who are impacted by this horrific event. We salute the heroic efforts of the rescue workers who have saved many people and continue to search for and look after survivors. Aviation is playing a major role in supporting these efforts and in delivering the humanitarian aid that will be critical in sustaining people through the recovery,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
In addition to the tremendous endeavours being undertaken by IATA members in the affected regions, namely Corendon Airlines, Freebird Airlines, MNG Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, SunExpress, SyrianAir and Turkish Airlines, airlines globally are making individual efforts to transport equipment, aid and specialist personnel to the affected areas. Some of the airlines involved include:
- Aegean Airlines
- Azerbaijan Airlines
- El Al
- Euroatlantic Airways
- Lufthansa Cargo
- Middle East Airlines – Air Liban
- Mongolian Airlines
- Pakistan International Airlines
- Qatar Airways Cargo
- Saudia Cargo
- Smartwings Group
- Wamos Air
Airlink provides a good example of how the aviation sector is responding to the crisis. A non-profit organization specialized in crisis response and logistics, Airlink coordinates donated airline resources and NGO needs in times of crisis. Working with a growing list of some 19 airlines, Airlink is supporting the work of nearly 50 NGOs active in the crisis and already has a pipeline nearing 450,000 kg of humanitarian cargo that it is aiming to transport to the affected areas.
In addition to what airlines are doing to support the rescue and humanitarian efforts, IATA is working with local stakeholders to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of critical industry support functions that it provides, mainly its financial settlements systems. IATA is working with local stakeholders to ensure that these systems continue to provide access to global distribution for the affected markets while taking into consideration the flexibility needed to operate in the extraordinary circumstances that some cargo and passenger agents are facing.