US; According to the Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III activated stage 1 of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) on Sunday, ordering six commercial airlines to send passenger flights to help evacuate civilians from US military locations in the Middle East.
The planes will not fly into or out of Afghanistan’s Kabul airport, but instead assist in transporting Afghans and US residents to bases in Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. United Airlines will provide four planes, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Airlines, and Omni Air will each provide three planes, while Hawaiian Airlines will provide two planes. The Department of Defense stated in a press statement that it does not expect the CRAF activation to have a significant impact on commercial aircraft.
Officials told the Washington Post on Sunday that the jets would help transfer Afghans from Middle Eastern locations to Europe and the United States. Thousands of Afghans have arrived at the bases, attempting to flee the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
CRAF was activated for the third time on Sunday, according to the Department of Defense; it was originally active during the Persian Gulf War (from August 1990 to May 1991) and again during the Iraq war (from February 2002 to June 2003).