To save lives during emergencies, time is of essence. Air transport is the fastest way to get aid workers, food and non-food relief materials, medicines and medical equipments to an emergency hot spot where lives and livelihoods have been compromised. The challenge is even more when such emergencies run into years of humanitarian intervention as experiences have shown from Sudan to Afghanistan and from Somalia to Democratic Republic of Congo. With a 48-hour lead time, WFP Aviation prides itself as the most timely, efficient and cost effective humanitarian air service provider of choice during emergencies, recovery and reconstruction periods or simply where aid workers have no commercial alternatives to reach those in need of aid.
In 2009, WFP Aviation kept faith with the entire humanitarian community providing safe, efficient and reliable air transport services in keeping with its mandate. Using an average of 53 aircraft per month, WFP Aviation transported 323,713 passengers and 12,412 metric tons of humanitarian cargo in 44,200 flight hours to over 200 destinations in 14 country operations. Compared to the previous year, the number of passengers transported and cargo transported dropped by 11% and 5% respectively. The reduction of activities is due to insecurity in Afghanistan related to the elections, the reduction of accessible airstrips in Somalia due to increasing insecurity in South Central Zone, the temporary withdrawal of some NGOs in Sudan and the reduction of one aircraft from the West African Coastal countries operation. The total annual expenditure for 2009 is US$144 million as against close to US$155 spent on the operations in the preceding year.