JUST IN: Changing threat environments could alter civil aircraft operations
Evacuees from Afghanistan board a Delta Airlines flight, part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, August 30, 2021.
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Donald darnec
The locations where commercial airlines are sent to assist the U.S. military in operations are subject to change, a U.S. Transportation Command official told reporters on Oct. 7.
The Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF, is a program that allows aircraft of US airlines to work contractually with the Department of Defense. The program strengthens the ministry’s airlift capabilities by using commercial aircraft when the need for airlift is greater than the military’s capacity. As of August 2021, there were 450 planes from 24 different airlines that made up CRAF, according to an Air Force backgrounder.
But as the United States focuses its attention on threatening environments outside the Middle East, Maj. Gen. Corey Martin, director of operations for US Transportation Command, said where the military sends its air partners sales will also be different.
“It’s not really a change in relationships, as threat levels dictate where commercial airliners can go,” he said at a Defense Writers Group event. .
Martin stressed that whatever operation it participates in, the CRAF will always work in low threat areas. He said the decision on where to send commercial planes will be based on questions of how far from the United States can they operate and in what locations can they better conduct operations without the defensive advantages of military planes.
Martin also added that the final decision of where commercial planes are sent rests with the airlines themselves, and carriers have the option of refusing an operation if they deem it unsafe.
In August, the CRAF was activated to help the State Department evacuate US citizens, personnel and others at risk from Afghanistan – an operation Martin hailed as “an extension of a strong relationship.” with the military’s business partners. During the operation, 18 commercial planes assisted the US Transportation Command in moving passengers out of Kabul.
The subjects: Air power, civilian workforce, transport, logistics