The Department of Defense will compel commercial airlines to help with the evacuation of Afghans and U.S. personnel from Afghanistan, the third time that the U.S. has activated what is known as the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF).
Eighteen aircraft will be used, including three from American Airlines, three from Delta Air Lines, three from Atlas Air, three from Omni Air, two from Hawaiian Airlines and four from United Airlines. The planes will not be going to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement, but will transport people from "temporary safe havens and interim staging bases."
"They will be used for the onward movement of passengers from temporary safe havens and interim staging bases," Kirby said. "Activating CRAF increases passenger movement beyond organic capability and allows military aircraft to focus on operations in and out of in Kabul."
USTRANSCOM will have mission control, but the planes will maintain their civil status under FAA regulations, according to the Pentagon.
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC.||19.15||-0.74||-3.72%|
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES, INC.||39.74||-0.66||-1.63%|
|HA||HAWAIIAN HOLDINGS, INC.||20.10||-0.59||-2.85%|
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS, INC.||46.73||+0.01||+0.02%|
The airlines will be compensated as part of the arrangement. Kirby said the Pentagon "does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights" as a result of activating the fleet.
This is the third time the fleet has been activated. The first was during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, and the second was during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002-2003.
Also on Sunday, Fox learned that the Pentagon plans to temporarily house Afghans arriving in the U.S. at the Dulles Expo Center in Washington, D.C., before transporting them to other locations, including Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.