Chicago-based United is taking its own steps to fight the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S
United Airlines, the third largest airline in the world is providing free roundtrip flights to New York City for medical volunteers who wish to help combat the COVID-19 crisis.
On Friday, the airline made the announcement on its social media platforms.
“We are offering free, round-trip flights to medical personnel to get to the New York City area to assist in the wake of COVID-19, and we’ll be doing so for additional regions in the coming days,” the airline said. “Our United family is profoundly grateful for the extraordinarily talented and selfless individuals who are working tirelessly on the frontline of this crisis.”
The Big Apple, which is home to roughly 8 million people has been the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 63,000 cases have been confirmed in the city and at least 3,565 people have died from the deadly bug, according to NY Mag.
United is working closely with the Mayor's Fund to advance New York City and a network of medical volunteer organizations, including The Society of Critical Care Medicine, to coordinate travel for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals from across the country to help treat patients, in this time of unprecedented need, according to World Airline News.
NBC News reported on Saturday that healthcare workers were overwhelmed by supply and test shortages and the overwhelming number of people requiring medical attention. Many have complained that they don't feel safe and described chaos in emergency rooms all over the city.
“Our healthcare workers are heroes, and they need reinforcements,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This generous partnership with United Airlines will ensure medical professionals from across the country can come to New York City to help us in our hour of need.”
In addition to the airlines’ announcement, President Trump announced that 1,000 military personnel will deploy to his hometown to help COVID-19 response efforts, according to NBC News.
United is working with local government agencies and their non-profit partners to ensure qualified medical professionals are staffed in hospitals best suited to their areas of expertise and have the proper housing and transportation to enable them to effectively offer their services, World Airline News reported.
“We are profoundly grateful for the extraordinarily talented and selfless individuals who are working around the clock and have an unwavering commitment to support our communities and medical providers at this time of exceptional need,” said Jill Kaplan, President, New York / New Jersey for United Airlines. “It is our hope that providing air travel at no cost will allow additional dedicated volunteers and first responders the ability to reach the Tri-State area, that has been hit hardest by COVID-19.”
The carrier is not left out from the list of airlines that have been greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to The Points Guy, the airlines’ president Scott Kirby said Thursday that the carrier’s revenue is down by over $100 million a day and 15% of seats on planes were filled last week.
“While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted,” said Oscar Munoz, United’s CEO in a letter to customers. “And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.”
Munoz said that the airline is utilizing several of their wide body aircraft to use as charter cargo flights to deliver medical supplies and goods at least 40 times a week.
He also said that they are working on getting people back to America.
“We are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.”
“While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass,” Munoz said.