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US Department of Defense activates Civil Reserve Air Fleet

US Department of Defense activates Civil Reserve Air Fleet

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For just the third time in history, the US Department of Defense has activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) to assist with the transportation of evacuees and refugees from Afghanistan. The CRAF aircraft will not fly to Kabul, but will carry passengers from bases in the Middle East to Europe and the United States.

A Delta Air Lines A350 operating a charter flight at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport
A Delta Air Lines A350 operating a charter flight at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in 2020.

Civil Reserve Air Fleet aircraft

The US Department of Defense has activated 18 aircraft from six airlines to participate in operation, likely to last a few weeks. Airlines required to provide aircraft include: American Airlines (3), Atlas Air (3), Delta Air Lines (3), Hawaiian Airlines (2), Omni Air International (3), and United Airlines (4).

The list below will be updated as additional information becomes available about the specific aircraft allocated by each airline to the CRAF mission.

AirlineRegistrationAircraft type
American AirlinesN760AN777-200(ER)
American AirlinesN761AJ777-200(ER)
American AirlinesTBDTBD
Atlas AirN649GT767-300
Atlas AirN464MC747-400
Atlas AirN465MC747-400
Delta Air LinesN810NWA330-300
Delta Air LinesN820NWA330-300
Delta Air LinesN504DNA350-900
Omni Air InternationalN486AX767-300
Omni Air InternationalTBDTBD
Omni Air InternationalTBDTBD
Hawaiian AirlinesTBDTBD
Hawaiian AirlinesTBDTBD
United AirlinesN2352U777-300(ER)
United AirlinesTBDTBD
United AirlinesTBDTBD
United AirlinesTBDTBD

What is the Civil Reserve Air Fleet?

The Civil Reserve Air Fleet was established in 1951 following the Berlin Airlift, when the United States determined it needed supplemental airlift capabilities and those needs could be met by civilian aircraft. In its current form, it is a voluntary program that US airlines can join. They pledge to make aircraft and crews available on short notice to the US military under the US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). In exchange, those airlines are given preference for carrying peacetime cargo and passenger traffic for the Department of Defense. The CRAF has been activated twice before, in 1990-1991 during the first Gulf War and again in 2002-2003 during the build up to the Iraq War.

A United Airlines 777 currenting operarting for the Civil Reserve Air Fleet

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