Norwegian and its decade-long corporate social responsibility partner, UNICEF, departed with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft filled with emergency aid for children in need in Yemen this morning. The aircraft used for this mission was delivered to Norwegian just last week and is the airline’s first Dreamliner aircraft with a UNICEF livery. The aircraft’s entire cargo belly is filled with emergency aid.
Norwegian and UNICEF have conducted three humanitarian aid missions since 2014 to the Central African Republic, to Syrian refugees in Jordan, and to Mali. Together, the partners have brought emergency aid that has saved more than 100,000 children’s lives.
Between 2007 and 2016, Norwegian contributed to UNICEF interventions for US $2.5 million. Providing the children of Yemen with nearly 28 tons of essentials medications, water purification tablets and community kits will help UNICEF to ensure a steady flow of supply for the most vulnerable. When a child is sick, every minute counts. In countries beset by violence, displacement, conflict and instability, such in Yemen, children’s most basic means of survival is a priority.
The flight departed from Copenhagen this morning and will arrive in Djibouti, which is the closest safe point to bring cargo to Yemen, on Monday night when all cargo will then be shipped across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. It is the partners’ fourth – and largest – humanitarian flight to date. As with all previous humanitarian aid flights, Norwegian’s founder and CEO Bjørn Kjos, 71, will lead the mission and actively participate in unloading the cargo.
Norwegian Chief Executive Bjørn Kjos said: “Our relationship with UNICEF is the most important of all our external relationships. With the ongoing crisis in Yemen and the recent cholera outbreak, this mission is more important than ever. It is also great opportunity to engage our staff, who are passionate about these issues. We look forward to conducting even more missions like this with UNICEF in the future.”
Camilla Viken of UNICEF Norway said: “It is inspiring to see the genuine commitment of Norwegian and its employees. This cargo will make a difference in children’s lives. We are grateful that they use their core competencies to support children in need.”
Besides emergency aid, this flight raised close to $25,000 for UNICEF as Norwegian partnered with MegaDo and the global community of frequent flyers, Insideflyer, and auctioned off a number of seats to aviation enthusiasts who joined this exclusive flight. The partners had a similar auction in July for seats onboard the world’s first transatlantic Boeing 737 MAX delivery flight. MegaDo and Insideflyer have now raised close to $50,000 of additional donations for UNICEF.
Norwegian has also had a Boeing 737 aircraft with a UNICEF livery in its fleet since 2007.