During its first week of assisting the Afghanistan evacuation effort, Lufthansa has flown more than 1,500 individuals from Tashkent in Uzbekistan to Frankfurt, Germany. The individuals transported have previously been flown out of Afghanistan by the German armed forces (Bundeswehr).
After the Taliban entered Kabul eight days ago, many nations have been scrambling to remove their citizens from the country. Evacuees are also locals who helped them during the Afghanistan conflict and anybody else with a humanitarian need to leave the country, such as women in influential positions and their families. This has been no small task, with militaries and airlines coming together to get the job done.
1,500 plus flown to Germany
While it hasn’t been flying directly into Afghanistan, Lufthansa has played a vital role in the evacuation from the country after it was chartered by the German Government a week ago. The airline has been ferrying Airbus A340-300s back and forth from Tashkent in Uzbekistan to transport those rescued from Afghanistan by Germany.
The mission takes part in several steps. Firstly, the Bundeswehr, or German Armed Forces, fly into Kabul. Here, they load an Airbus A400M with German citizens, local Afghan staff, and others with an urgent need to leave the country. According to tweets by the Military, around 200 people fit on each A400M leaving Kabul, with most sitting on the aircraft floor. Straps run across the floor of the aircraft that passengers can grab hold of.
Once the German A400Ms leave Kabul, they fly to Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan. As of 09:45 CEST this morning, the army had rescued over 2,700 people comprising 38 nationalities from Kabul during 20 flights. Last Monday, there was a slight uproar after teething problems meant the first aircraft departed with just seven passengers.
Handed over to Lufthansa
Upon arrival in Tashkent, those escaping Afghanistan are taken to an airport terminal, where they are processed by the German government. This includes the German Embassy registering the people and a COVID-19 test for those leaving Afghanistan.
Once the German Government has processed them, those heading to Germany are placed in the care of Lufthansa. The airline then ferries them to Frankfurt onboard an Airbus A340-300. The airline has been rotating the Airbus A340s used for the German Government charter flights, rather than exclusively using one or two. One aircraft that has done the flight twice is D-AIFD, named Gießen, as seen in the top photograph.
So far, Lufthansa’s flights have carried 1,500 people to Germany across 12 flights, averaging 115 per flight. For the longer leg of the journey, those escaping Afghanistan are afforded more comfort. Instead of the A400M floor, they can relax in the economy, premium economy, and business class cabins offered by Lufthansa on the quadjet.
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On arrival in Frankfurt, Lufthansa supports its passengers with food, drinks, and clothing. There is also medical and psychological care available. The airline is aware that many children are among those arriving in the country, and as such, has also set up a play and painting corner for arriving children.
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