Army Gen. Stephen Lyons, head of U.S. Transportation Command, said TRANSCOM is exploring ways on how to shift work to Civil Reserve Air Fleet partners in an effort to mitigate the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the commercial airline industry, Defense News reported Monday.
CRAF is a program where Delta, United Airlines and other commercial aviation firms can carry out transport missions on behalf of the Pentagon during emergencies.
“On a cargo side, the civil aviation fleet is going pretty strong. On a passenger side, it has dropped off significantly,” Lyons said. “We’re talking to [commercial airline companies] regularly. I am concerned, to some degree, about impacts on the passenger segment of the aviation industry, so any opportunity we have to push workload in their direction, we’re doing that.”
The State Department’s repatriation task force tapped TRANSCOM in late March to help manage contracts with U.S. airlines to transport U.S. citizens and permanent residents back to the country.