Sudan + 2 more

Aid flights in safety spotlight: Abu Dhabi hosts first global conference

Abu Dhabi, 03 February 2009 - The first Global Aviation Safety Conference for Humanitarian Air Operations will take place in Abu Dhabi on February 18- 19, presented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and sponsored by Maximus Air Cargo, the UAE's specialist in delivering relief materials to disaster areas around the world.

The conference will focus on aviation safety and the unique difficulties faced in transporting aid personnel and materials to sites that are often barely accessible.

The first day will examine local and global regulatory issues affecting safety and security, and the second will look at air operations from the perspective of WFP and other humanitarian stakeholders.

Participating organisations include the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the Flight Safety Foundation, and civil aviation authorities from Africa, Asia, USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and the GCC.

International humanitarian governmental organisations and non-governmental organizations taking part include the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, Mission Aviation Fellowship, and Flight Safety Foundation.

The United Nations WFP and other UN Agencies will also be represented, as well as passenger and cargo air operators and brokers along with local and regional airlines and airports.

Admission is free and members of the relief and aviation community are welcome to attend. Registration is available at .

"This conference will also provide excellent networking opportunities including one to one meetings with UN and WFP aviation officers to discuss practical details on humanitarian operations and social functions," says Cesar Arroyo who heads the WFP's Aviation Safety Unit.

Lead sponsor Maximus Air Cargo is currently operating a six-month programme to fly humanitarian aid to conflict-ridden Sudan.

The Abu Dhabi-headquartered heavy lifter of the airline world is carrying about 4,500 tons of relief supplies that include food, shelter and medicine from Khartoum to Geneina, Nyala, Malakal, Juba, Al Fasher, and Al Obeid.

Last year, the carrier flew relief missions to China and Burma after earthquake and cyclone disasters there.

"As the exclusive partner for the UAE Red Crescent in providing all relief air transport services requirements, both regionally and internationally, Maximus is committed to provide the most efficient service by using our strong expertise in the industry," says the company's president and CEO, Fathi Hilal Buhazza.

"Safety is always a priority for airline operators, but this is even more important when flying to war zones or territories that have been struck by natural disasters. The first Global Aviation Safety Conference for Humanitarian Air Operations will provide an invaluable forum to ensure that best practice is being implemented."

Supporting conference sponsors include the AYR Group, Etihad Airways and Eastern Skyjets.

For further information please contact:

Manager Marketing
Phone: +971 2 447 4900 ext. 306
Mobile: +971 50 505 9193

maximus AIR CARGO
P.O. Box 35367, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Samir Sajet
Regional Aviation Safety Officer, UAE
Phone: + 971 6 557 4799
Mobile: + 971 50 656 1019

United Nations World Food Programme