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   Vol. 16 No. 73
Wednesday September 20, 2017

Hurricane Relief Steps Up To The Mike
Hurricane Relief Steps Up To The Mike

     “It’s a massive humanitarian effort, quite unlike business as usual, and I am both humbled and proud to be part of a passionate team at the airline and our partners who are pitching in to help,” said “The Mike” Mike Oslansky, effusive Director of U.S. Cargo Operations at United Airlines.
      As we spoke in UA’s Corporate Support Center in Chicago’s Willis Tower on Thursday, Mike displayed great enthusiasm for the efforts of the emergency response team established at United.
      Mike, along with Director International Cargo Operations & Logistics Mark Albrecht, other cargo colleagues, and members of several other United teams, is involved in an around-the-clock effort to move consignments of relief cargo—including water, ready-to-eat meals, medical supplies, generators, blankets, United amenity kits, and even baby diapers—to areas of the mainland U.S., Caribbean and Mexico recently devastated by the ferocious one-two punch of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and now Maria.


First There Was Harvey

      The relief effort started with getting wheels up and flights into Houston in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Though IAH was soon closed to everything but humanitarian flights, United moved more than 500,000 pounds of relief supplies into the airport.
      “Then, almost before we could take a deep breath, here came Hurricane Irma—bringing a level of destruction nearly beyond belief to a wide swath of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. “Fortunately, we learned some lessons from Harvey about the importance of pre-positioning relief supplies into airports before a storm hits. Unfortunately, we needed to apply those lessons just a few days later,” Mike added.


SJU Spared

      “The area around SJU Airport was spared the worst of Irma’s destruction, making it possible to send in disaster relief shipments almost immediately. We continue to use San Juan as a hub for other islands in the regions that were hit much harder. The storms may have moved on, but the team continues to coordinate, load, and transport relief freight into areas where folks need it most.”


Massive Relief Is Continuing

      “In fact, we moved a humanitarian flight—all disaster relief supplies, no passengers or revenue shipments—into St. Thomas (STT) this past weekend.
      “We expect this to be the first of many such movements as islands in the Caribbean start to rebuild their homes, businesses, and lives.”


No Slowdown In Sight

      “Of course, this is nothing like how we usually conduct business, but the gratifying thing is no one has walked into my office and said ‘Maybe we should slow down all this relief activity,’” Mike declared.
      “And we’re not the only airline doing this—it’s an industry-wide effort. American, Delta, and many others are all part of it,” Mike graciously declares.


A Lifer To Love

      Mike Oslansky is one of those cargo “lifers” you always knew was there, but then the impossible happens. It’s then that his skillful hands get cargo where it needs to be without any excuses, and the brilliance of this 30-year industry veteran moves to center stage.


Heart Like a Wheel

      Talking about the strong emotions churning inside legions of airline employees and United Cargo service partners right now, Mike says:
      “Along with keeping the shipment of relief supplies moving, our other top concern is easing the impact of these weather events on our employees. United has an excellent way to direct these efforts and provide much-needed financial assistance to impacted employees through our ‘United We Care’ internal outreach program,” Mike said.
       “Among all the folks involved in the relief activity, there are many stories of uncommon effort that deserve to be told,” Mike smiles.


The Trucker Would Not Back Down

      “One example among many: in the immediate aftermath of Harvey, getting relief supplies from the airport to the shelter in the Convention Center downtown was next to impossible. Stepping up to help was one of our trucking partners, U.S. Cargo Link, and their VP of Operations AJ Thiara.
       “His first truck, a 40-foot trailer, stalled out in the flooded streets. But, undaunted, he brought on a second trailer and with the help of the Houston Police Department was able to deliver five full trailer loads of emergency supplies to the Houston Convention Center.
      “Our employees were also fantastic in the crisis. Although our IAH Contact Center and offices were closed, people whose lives were being impacted by the storm operated from their homes, showing an amazing will and talent to get the job done and benefit others in need.”


The Most Good

      “For me, the biggest takeaway of recent weeks is that doing good is contagious.
      “When catastrophes like this occur, everyone asks, ‘What can we do?’ “We’re fortunate to know the answer to that question: we have the cargo capacity and processes in place, and we have solid connections with companies with big hearts who are eager to donate relief supplies.
      “With so many people in need, it’s heartening to see our industry put everything else aside and recognize the top priority is doing whatever we can to help.
      “We’re all in this together,” Mike Oslansky said.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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FT081817Vol. 16 No. 70
Where In The World?
Chuckles for August 31, 2017
The New Green Vikings
Happy Faces—Going Places
Miles & More
FT081817Vol. 16 No. 71
Prakash Nair: A Man For All Seasons
Chuckles for September 7, 2017
An Airline Story From The Heart

FT081817Vol. 16 No. 72
United Relief After Irma
Chuckles for September 13, 2017
Cargo Accelerates Miami Comeback
Coffee Watch In Miami
Letters to the Editor

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