Some Historical Perspective:

To support the global war on terror, the Air Force’s mobility assets are operating at a pace today comparable to the surge rates during the Berlin Airlift, Gen. Arthur Lichte, commander of Air Mobility Command, said Friday. “It’s an amazing comparison to realize how much we can do today when you look back on what they did in Berlin,” Lichte said during his presentation at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando. During the famous year-long Berlin relief mission of 60 years ago, which is still the largest-ever humanitarian relief mission, cargo aircraft took off at a rate of one every 90 seconds to supply the isolated city, he said. Yet in the 24 hours prior to his speech, Lichte said mobility aircraft flew 1,050 missions globally, with an aircraft lifting off every 82 seconds. Further, AMC currently transports about 2,198 tons per day compared to the 3,968 tons moved daily during the Berlin crisis. “We still lift over half of Berlin’s daily tonnage but we are doing it with one-fifth of the aircraft, and we have been doing that for the last six and a half years,” he said. “This has kind of become business as usual.” The general also noted that the average age of an aircraft within the mobility fleet today is more than 31 years, much older than the Berlin Airlift fleet that averaged less than six years.