Press release -
Norwegian to fly emergency aid to Ethiopia in support of UNICEF
Today, Norwegian’s most important flight of the year is bound for drought-hit Ethiopia. The flight marks the return of Norwegian and UNICEF’s “Fill a Plane” initiative which is now back for the sixth time. This year, Norwegian’s plane is loaded with emergency aid for drought-stricken children that are affected by the region’s worst hunger crisis in 40 years.
For the sixth time, Norwegian in collaboration with UNICEF Norway are sending a plane with emergency aid to one of the world’s major crisis zones. This year’s mission will bring relief to children affected by malnutrition and drought in Ethiopia. This morning, Norwegian's newest 737 MAX 8 aircraft was loaded with 10 tonnes of emergency aid from UNICEF's warehouse in Copenhagen – the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse.
“Finally, together with UNICEF, we can once again fill a plane with emergency aid. I am very happy that we can contribute to getting even more direct emergency aid to children in Ethiopia and, through this, contribute to putting the spotlight on one of the world's biggest crises,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.
Internal engagement is central driver for collaboration
Norwegian is providing the aircraft, crew and key employees to UNICEF for this mission.
“Thanks to the fantastic efforts of Norwegian's employees, we can now send a fully loaded plane with medical equipment, medicine and other emergency aid to the Horn of Africa. It means a lot to have employees who are such active supporters,” said Camilla Viken, Secretary General of UNICEF Norway.
The collaboration between Norwegian and UNICEF Norway stretches back more than 15 years.
“The partnership with UNICEF is a great source of pride internally at Norwegian. Most importantly, we see that our contributions are having meaningful and immediate results. Through fundraising campaigns by employees, humanitarian campaigns and donations from customers we have contributed to giving children all over the world better living conditions,” said Karlsen.
About the crisis in Ethiopia
The population in the Horn of Africa is currently experiencing the worst drought in 40 years. Five rainy seasons have failed and the sixth is in danger of failing. In this region, more than 20 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
“As the world faces humanitarian crises increasing in complexity, scale and frequency, it is more important than ever to reach vulnerable communities with life-saving supplies,” said Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division.
“UNICEF is proud to partner with Norwegian on the Fill a Plane initiative to deliver items to Ethiopia from our Global Supply and Logistics Hub in Copenhagen, including emergency health kits, medicines and midwifery kits. Every child deserves access to essential supplies, and this shipment will support health services to provide critical care for children and their families,” said Kadilli.
About the collaboration between Norwegian and UNICEF
Norwegian has supported UNICEF Norway since 2007, and the commitment among both the employees and the company's customers has strengthened over many years. Various activities to fundraise as well as voluntary efforts in connection with the “Fill a plane” initiatives have secured help for hundreds of thousands of children.
Some employee fundraising initiatives have included running the New York marathon and knitting mittens and socks for UNICEF. Over 100 Norwegian employees will participate in this year’s Fornebuløpet run in Oslo, raising vital funds for UNICEF. As an established Christmas tradition in Norwegian, the company makes an annual donation to UNICEF on behalf of colleagues rather than distributing Christmas presents.
Since the partnership was established in 2007, Norwegian and the company's customers have collected more than 50 million Norwegian kroner for UNICEF Norway. Customers can choose to give a monetary gift to UNICEF Norway when they buy plane tickets via the company's website.
Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, and Director for Children's Rights at UNICEF, Kristin Oudmayer, are both on the flight to Ethiopia.
10 tons of medical equipment and other emergency aid from UNICEF's warehouse in Copenhagen are loaded on board the Norwegian flight by volunteers.
Veronica Juliussen is a cabin crew member and UNICEF ambassador at Norwegian.
Norwegian was founded in 1993 but began operating as a low-cost carrier with Boeing 737 aircraft in 2002. Since then, our mission has been to offer affordable fares for all and to allow customers to travel the smart way by offering value and choice throughout their journey.
Norwegian has been voted Europe’s Best Low-Cost airline by Skytrax for six consecutive years and won Airline Program of the Year Europe & Africa at the Freddie Awards for four consecutive years. Since 2012, Norwegian has won over 55 awards for our service, product, and innovation in the industry.
We were the first airline in the world to join the UN Climate Secretariat’s climate action-initiative in 2019, pledging to work systematically to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Norwegian operates a short haul network across the Nordics and to key European destinations providing customers with excellent quality at affordable fares.