Air Transportation: February 13, 2003


For the first time since the 1990-91 Gulf War, the United States had mobilized CRAF (Civil Reserve Air Fleet). Twenty-two airlines were ordered to make available 78 commercial aircraft (47 passenger aircraft and 31 wide-body freighters.) CRAF was set up in 1951, and used for the first time in 1990. At the time, the air force was paying some $700 million a year to 32 airlines so that, if a national emergency was declared, the air force could call into military service transports with a minimum of fuss and paperwork. The program has continued since then. Aircraft can also volunteer their aircraft for military service, which is easier to do right now because of the depressed state of the air transport business. During the Gulf War, airlines that had their aircraft mobilized earned $1.5 billion in use fees. The CRAF transports moved 62 percent of the troops brought in by air to the Persian Gulf, and 27 percent of the air freight.


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