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US considers having commercial airlines help with refugees

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The Biden administration is considering calling on U.S. commercial airlines to provide planes and crews to assist in transporting Afghan refugees once they are evacuated from their country by military aircraft.

The U.S. Transportation Command said in a statement Saturday that the Pentagon has not approved or ordered any activation of commercial airlines as allowed under the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program, which adds to military aircraft capability during a crisis related to national defense.

However, the Transportation Command said it had issued a warning order to U.S. carriers Friday night on the possible activation of the program. The order was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

If called upon under the voluntary program, commercial airlines would transport evacuees from way stations outside Afghanistan to another country or from Virginia’s Dulles International Airport to U.S. military bases.

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