Leipzig/Halle Airport is ideally equipped for “humanitarian logistics”: Global emergency and disaster missions are becoming increasingly important.

Leipzig/Halle Airport, working with the Volga-Dnepr Group and the Akkon University of Human Sciences, organised a specialist international conference on topics related to “Humanitarian Logistics” on 21 May this year. About 60 representatives from research institutes, government and non-government organisations, logistics companies, airports as well as airlines attended the event; it was held in Leipzig on the fringes of the OECD’s International Transport Forum.

Workshops were organised at Leipzig/Halle Airport as part of the specialist conference and they were designed to promote an active exchange of knowledge and experience. The workshops dealt with topics like the specific requirements that global disaster operations place on all those involved in supply chains. This includes aid organisations, logistics companies, airports and airlines as well as the general political and social conditions to an equal degree. The international participants also exchanged ideas on logistics processes and challenges when combatting epidemics like ebola.

Another major emphasis at one workshop was civil protection in Germany and the question of how to effectively make use of aircraft, helicopters and drones if any national disasters occur. If there is for instance going to be another very dry summer, there are various stipulations related to obtaining fire-fighting aircraft to combat forest fires more efficiently. These aircraft could be purchased with the help of the European Union, for example.

During the remainder of the event, the participants had the opportunity of observing typical loading procedures on board aircraft from the Volga-Dnepr Group (Antonov 124 and IL76-TD-90VD planes). Because of their technical specifications, these types of aircraft are particularly suitable for aid flights to disaster areas. They can transport huge amounts of cargo to sites without hard-surfaced runways and do not require any special equipment for loading and unloading at the local site.

Götz Ahmelmann, CEO of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG and Chairman of the Board at Leipzig/Halle and Dresden Airports:

“Leipzig/Halle Airport offers excellent conditions for aid flights to anywhere in the world. We’re therefore delighted to be able to host this kind of special international conference for the second time, after doing so in 2017. We’re happy to share our wealth of experience in handling cargo flights for disaster and aid missions so that we can continue to develop processes with all those involved in order to be able to act more quickly and efficiently in an emergency.”

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. PH Timo Ulrichs, Head of the International Emergency and Disaster Aid B.A. and Global Health M.Sc. Courses at Akkon University of Human Sciences:

“The ebola epidemic in West Africa has shown how important it is to enable active civil and military cooperation for these kinds of missions. Without the air bridge maintained by the German Armed Forces, it wouldn’t have been possible to guarantee continual supplies of consumables or the safety of the personnel if they caught ebola. All the parties involved have gained a great deal of practical experience and are now in the process of implementing the lessons that they’ve learned. In an age of newly und reemerging infectious diseases, it’s essential to be prepared for the next assignment.”

Stuart Smith, Director Global Humanitarian, Volga-Dnepr Group:

“We were honored to co-assist in the organization of this specialist humanitarian logistics conference. The event was aimed towards the German academic, government and NGO audience however some of the outputs and dialogues on more effective logistics supply chains are equally transferable across the wider humanitarian community. We were able to demonstrate the unique ramp loading features of our An-124-100 and Il-76TD-90VD fleet as well as the access possibilities into our wider group partners with Boeing 747 and 737 freighters. The aircraft tours at our Leipzig operational base were also able to show the difference loading and preparation methods for medical and disaster response cargo. Our strengthened engagement with the humanitarian sector under our "Proactive reactivity" approach aims to make access to our special air cargo services easier and more efficient. We are often among the first responders to disaster events, such as recently in Cyclone Idai where we performed over 350 tonnes of cargo across 10 x urgent flights.”


Akkon University of Human Sciences is a state-recognised private university based in Berlin. Degree courses are taught in health, nursing and social care, management in the health sector as well as civil protection and disaster aid.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) is the world leader in the market of oversized and super-heavy cargo transportation. For over 29 years, it has been transforming the transport and logistics concept, providing its customers with timely, reliable, and cost-efficient solutions for even the most complex cargo projects for various industries, including aerospace, oil and gas, automotive, humanitarian, and others.
VDA regularly performs transportation services for international governments to support worldwide humanitarian aid projects, organizations, governments, charities and corporations, supporting the victims of natural or man-made disasters. Using the unique operating and technical capabilities of its transport aircraft fleet, and by working closely with its customers, VDA is often first on the ground in disaster areas with urgently-needed humanitarian aid.
Its fleet includes twelve ramp aircraft An-124-100 Ruslan and five modernized Il-76TD-90VD freighters and sales offices are located in different regions of the world.


Press release as PDF file