United Airlines is partnering with New York City to provide free round-trip flights for medical volunteers who want to help in the frontline fight against the COVID-19 crisis. The airline 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.
“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.”
“The New Yorkers working on the frontlines of COVID-19 have been and continue to be incredibly brave and tireless in their efforts,” said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “To know there are health care heroes across the country who are willing to step in and lend their support, and that United stands ready to fly them here, is wonderfully heartening. The Mayor’s Fund is deeply grateful for our trusted partners in the business community during these trying times.”
The need for medical volunteers has never been more important in New York City, which as of today has more than 50,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the most of any U.S. city.
“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.”
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. The airline is also closely collaborating with a network of professional medical volunteer organizations to help further enlist volunteers who have offered their support in this time of great need.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is one of those extraordinary times that demonstrates how we come together as a profession to provide desperately needed assistance and care,” said Society of Critical Care Medicine President, Lewis J Kaplan, M.D., FCCM. “We are so proud that, despite the risk, critical care professionals are among those who have volunteered to drop everything and help their New York colleagues during this crisis. We are especially thankful that United Airlines is providing complimentary airfare so that volunteers can get to New York quickly and hit the ground running.”
United plans to expand this program to additional areas in the Tri-State region and beyond to allow more volunteers to offer their vitally important services in the places that need them most.