Seven airlines, along with other travel industry leaders, are donating more than 20,000 airline tickets to Afghan evacuees to get to their final destinations in the US, matching an additional 20,000 flights contributed by the public, the White House, Welcome.US, major airlines and Miles4Migrants will announce Tuesday morning.
The 40,000 flights cover the majority of Afghan evacuees on domestic military bases and would help them get to their next destination in the US. About 53,000 Afghans are living at US bases in the continental United States, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a Monday briefing at the Pentagon. They are spread out across eight bases.
While refugees can receive federal assistance to cover travel costs, funds not spent on flights can be reallocated to cover other expenses as evacuees get set up in their new communities.
The Associated Press first reported the effort.
United Airlines is contributing the mile equivalent of 7,000 flights and Delta Air Lines is donating nearly 700 flights. The commitments build on previous initiatives to collect and match donations for Afghan refugees. American Airlines and JetBlue are also supporting flights, 6,000 and nearly 2,500 flights, respectively. Alaska Airlines is contributing 1,500 flights.
Other companies included in the effort are The Boeing Company, the Tripadvisor Foundation, Frontier Airlines and Air Canada.
The initiative is being launched with Miles4Migrants, which donates frequent flyer miles, credit card points and cash to help fly displaced people, and Welcome.US, a national effort to welcome and support Afghan refugees. Organizers are hoping to secure an additional 30,000 flights to help Afghans.