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Cablegate: United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (Unhas)

VZCZCXRO1281
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0619 1751413
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231413Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 0001
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 1538
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0038
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4381
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0129
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0695
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0192
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000619

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W AND USAID
ACCRA AND DAKAR FOR USAID
PARIS AND LONDON FOR AF WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID CASC AEMR AMED PREL ASEC NG CD CM CT
SUBJECT: UNITED NATIONS HUMANITARIAN AIR SERVICE (UNHAS)

1. Summary. The UNHAS launched an inaugural flight in Niger
on June 12, 2008, with a short trip from Niamey to Agadez to
Niamey. The UNHAS will facilitate travel to remote locations
in country as well as offer limited service from Niger to
other countries in west and central Africa. This most
welcome service is being provided to U.N. system
organizations and to certain employees and non-governmental
organization partners (NGO) of U.N. member states. For
Government of Niger (GON) partners, the new service will
reduce travel time to in-country destinations from two or
more days (by road) to two to three hours. The service will
make it possible for GON partners to respond more quickly to
emergency situations, including providing medical evacuations
or other emergency assistance. The UNHAS will provide air
service to Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic
from Niamey and will connect to existing safe, reliable
international flights between Dakar and Niamey. End summary.

2. The UNHAS has established a weekly schedule to provide
domestic flight service within Niger and international
flights from Niamey to Ndjamena, Bangui and Yaounde. The
U.N. system organizations in Niger requested UNHAS in light
of the "deteriorating security situation in the northern and
eastern areas of Niger and the related hampering of the
capacity of the humanitarian community to respond to
emergency needs." (Note: Niger has no domestic air service,
thus UNHAS will help fill that void. End note.)

3. The UNHAS is a World Food Program (WFP) charter for both
passengers and cargo, "operating under the United Nations
Common Aviation Safety Standards (AVSTADS) as agreed to by
WFP and the Department of Peacekeeping under the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines."
The UNHAS is a 32-seat charter (D328 Jet Aircraft) that will
be based in Niamey. Standard operating procedures, guidelines
and related application forms (for passengers and cargo) have
been provided to offices of the U.N. system and missions of
U.N. member states.

4. Each mission has been advised to identify two points of
contact to vet its list of potential UNHAS users. U.S.
Embassy Niamey's points of contact are the Ambassador and the
Deputy Chief of Mission. In addition to U.S. Embassy
employees (American and locally engaged staff) engaged in
humanitarian work, a limited number of management staff from
the following organizations engaged in humanitarian work have
been invited to register for inclusion on the U.S. Embassy
list: U.S. Peace Corps, Africare, Catholic Relief Service,
CARE, Helen Keller International, Mercy Corps, Academy for
Educational Development, Famine Early Warning Systems
Network, Africa Development Foundation, International Relief
and Development, and Relief International.

5. The UNHAS flights to domestic locations (Agadez, Tahoua,
Maradi, Zinder) are offered Mondays through Thursdays, on a
first-come, first-serve basis at no cost to the traveler.
(Note: Flights to Diffa are expected to be added once repairs
to the landing tarmac are made. End note.) Each mission is
limited to three seats per flight and is required to book
seats at least 24 hours in advance. Missions are permitted
to request additional seats on a wait-listed basis to fill
any unbooked seats. Friday is a crew rest day. Saturdays
and Sundays are reserved for international flights to
Ndjamena, Bangui and Yaounde.

6. On a cost-reimbursable basis, missions may request special
flights for hours outside the regularly scheduled flights.


ALLEN

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