A unique and significant part of the nation’s air mobility resources is the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF. Selected aircraft from U.S. airlines, contractually committed to CRAF, augment Department of Defense airlift requirements in emergencies when the need for airlift exceeds the capability of military aircraft.
Below you’ll find the USAF Official Factsheet on something that’s been around for a long time.
Most of my deployments to/from the sandbox we flew in and out of theater in one of these contracted carriers.
They’re also used to fly military and their families when assigned overseas. Usually flying out of JFK, ATL, LAX SFO etc to bases overseas like RAF Mildenhal, Ramstien, Yakota to just name a few
Well worth it to get some insight on what a lot of folks don’t know about.
It’s not just for wartime and contingencies but also used in peacetime with day to day or weekly contracted flights like the “freedom flights” I mentioned earlier. Somewhere around 50-60 contract carriers are flying somewhere in the world.
The most current list I found is dated April 2017, 24 carriers and 434 aircraft are enrolled in CRAF. This includes 397 aircraft in the international segment (267 in the long-range international section and 130 in the short- range international section). There are 37 aircraft assigned to the national domestic services segment. These numbers are subject to change on a monthly basis.
The following air carriers are current members of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program (subject to change monthly).
Interesting… I bet these companies get some sweet tax breaks because of this. I doubt all of it would work out in the event of an emergency though cause I bet companies like AAL aren’t prepared for it. I’m sure it would still be effective though.
These contracts are pretty lucrative. If we had another huge deployment like Desert Shield, they would cut back on commercial service routes to fulfill the contract than loose it if they had to
But the idea of having a large pool of aircraft and carriers is so no one carrier would have that kind of workload and also not command the market share
As an AMC command post controller both at McChord and at TACC (Tanker Airlift Control Center) couple of things work differently. We have to use VHF radios to talk to them instead of the UHF used for military and the CRAF want to use their block time to count as the departure time but military operations (and TACC) say nope, departure is when you’re in the air