to the Mike
Mike Oslansky, United Cargo’s ebullient
head of U.S. Cargo Operations, reached out to update us on the carrier’s
campaign to deliver emergency relief supplies to hurricane-ravaged Puerto
Mike first detailed United’s response
to the devastating effect of multiple hurricanes in FlyingTypers’ September 20th edition.
He picks up the story from there:
“I continue to be overwhelmed by the
enormous energy the United team is putting into this humanitarian effort.
“In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane
Maria, through the work and passion of countless United employees, we
operated several humanitarian-only flights to the island.
“Logistics conditions are still very
challenging and United Cargo is just now resuming limited regular cargo
service. While United flew a limited passenger schedule, we continued
to carry essential relief supplies on flights from our New York/Newark
and Chicago hubs.
“The totals keep growing, but as of
the first week of October I’m gratified to say United has transported
more than 1.5 million pounds of desperately-needed relief supplies to
areas pummeled by Harvey and Maria.
“In addition, because so many United
employees have family and friends in Puerto Rico, we launched a first-ever
program to enable United employees to send relief cargo free-of-charge
to SJU and BQN.
“The response from the United family
to this opportunity was tremendous – I won’t say surprising,
because I’ve reached the point where the generosity and compassion
in response to this crisis surprises me. Over 700 ‘family and friends’
shipments were donated and more than 150,000 pounds of requested supplies
have been flown so far.
“One thing that’s become increasingly
clear is that people genuinely, desperately want to help. So it’s
satisfying to provide them a way to make that happen. And because the
need is still great and the United team is so generous, we’re relaunching
our employee relief shipping program this week.
“Another great example of generosity
and willingness to sacrifice is a United 777-300ER that flew from Newark
to San Juan last Wednesday.
“Along with 35,000 pounds of food,
water and other essential supplies, the flight carried more than 300 first
responders and volunteers – nurses, doctors, engineers, carpenters,
truck drivers and other highly-skilled professionals – to assist
in relief and rebuilding efforts on the island. All these experts and
the United crew volunteered their time for this mission, and none of the
volunteers hesitated for a moment when they were asked.
“When I think about the totals I referenced
earlier, I’m humbled to be able to speak for everyone who has contributed
to this labor of love – United teammates, our partners, and those
who generously donated the supplies we shipped. This effort is ongoing,
so this is not the time to exhale and evaluate. But I expect that eventually
we will look at those numbers and say we were all involved in something
memorable and valuable.”