Emergency response charter solutions for time-critical evacuations

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Key Facts

Number of flights: 49 flights
Passengers flown: Over 3,000 passengers
Total distance: 115,000 nm

Following the announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in July 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence requested the organisation of multiple evacuation flights for Afghan and British nationals and their families back to the UK. In addition, due to the travel restriction and red-list status of Afghanistan as part of the UK government’s travel traffic light system, meaning all arrivals would need to self-isolate for 11 days upon entering the UK, the team had to ensure all flights arrived in the most suitable locations. 

As a result of the strict isolation criteria, Birmingham and Heathrow were the only two designated arrival airports in the UK that were suitable to handle the number of arriving passengers, and the initial charter operation began with a series of flights departing from Kabul Airport (KBL) and flying into Birmingham Airport (BHX). As the security situation in Kabul started to deteriorate, our team were quick to respond and adapted the programme accordingly. The team switched all flights to operate from Dubai World Central Airport (DWC) where military aircraft brought passengers into Dubai from Kabul. From there flights operated back-to-back, non-stop to repatriate as many nationals as possible before the end of August.

Over the course of the month, our Group Charter experts successfully evacuated over 3,000 passengers from Afghanistan utilising a mix of A330-200 and B767-3ER aircraft. Some flights included repatriating passengers with medical needs on board and these passengers were accompanied by an Aeromed team. Due to the sheer volume of flights and the quick turnaround times needed, the team were also able to arrange additional resources at Birmingham Airport. Thanks to our network of trusted partners, we were able to utilise the expertise of Arvin Aviation who helped coordinate the aircraft turnarounds at a time of high congestion to help maintain the planned schedule. 

Our Group Charter experts worked tirelessly throughout the flight programme to ensure that all procedures, permits and requirements were in place to provide a smooth and continual operation. Throughout the one-month period, a total of 18 charters and 49 sectors took place, covering over 115,000 nm, and 300 flight hours. This was all made possible thanks to our long-standing airline partner’s Wamos Air.

Having worked as an approved partner of the UK MOD for over 30 years, including regular charters for troop rotations and military equipment, our Group Charter experts are well versed in organising time-sensitive and complex charter operations in some of the most challenging of locations. Throughout the entire evacuation operation, a total of over 15,000 Afghan & British nationals were evacuated from Kabul across all civilian and military flights, making this the largest evacuation effort since the Berlin Airlift in 1948.