Singapore Airlines (SIA) has promised to fulfil a campaign pledge to operate freighter flights in support of the World Food Programme’s (WFP) COVID-19 response to help transport essential medical supplies and other health and humanitarian items by air to points of need around the world.
The airline will make ad-hoc charter flights and freight space in its scheduled services available on a cost-recovery basis, with flight costs being covered by a contribution of up to US$6.5 million from the Temasek Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Singapore government-owned wealth fund- Temasek Holdings).
This vital decision by SIA comes at a time when the WFP’s air logistics support for humanitarian groups fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is running out of money.
An estimated US$965 million is required to sustain WFP’s Common Services on behalf of the humanitarian and health community.
WFP operates a network of hubs and passenger and cargo airlinks to ensure a steady flow of supplies and support to the frontlines of the pandemic. Since commencing in May, WFP has managed more than 800 humanitarian flights to 159 countries, with enough cargo to fill 188 jumbo jets expected to require WFP transport in the coming weeks. However, only 21 per cent of the required funding has been received to-date.
WFP’s passenger and cargo flights are likely to grind to a halt at the end of August if no additional support is received.
“While demand for WFP Common Services grows every week, resources are stretched incredibly thin and additional support is urgently needed,” said Amer Daoudi, WFP’s COVID-19 Corporate Response Director.
“We are very grateful to Singapore Airlines and Temasek Foundation for stepping up so we can continue delivering life-saving supplies to those who need it most,” added Daoudi.
“It is a pleasure for SIA to partner with WFP and Temasek Foundation in this meaningful programme said Chin Yau Seng, Senior Vice President- Cargo, Singapore Airlines. “This will allow us to draw on our expertise as a global airfreight provider and use our international network to deliver essential supplies to the points of need and help to make a positive impact on the communities that have been directly affected by COVID-19.”
Ng Boon Heong, CEO of Temasek Foundation (the philanthropic arm of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Temasek Holdings) said, “We are pleased to partner with the WFP and SIA to help make these flights possible. Together, we will be more capable in combating the COVID-19 global pandemic when we enable synergistic collaborations in the international community.”
“This partnership is one way for us to ensure that essential supplies reach communities with the most need, even if they are separated by distance. We are pleased to enable two of the best in their respective fields to make this partnership possible,” Heong added.
To support the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, SIA Cargo has been transporting PPE and other medical relief supplies to places where they are needed, playing its part in keeping supply lines for essential goods open at a critical time. The Group has also donated items such as blankets and helped to supply meals to communities that have been affected by the pandemic in Singapore.