At the end of ever year Flightglobal publication Flight International takes a look at how aviation contributes to humanitarian and good cause missions, such as the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.
Freight carrier UPS wants to carry out one such humanitarian flight: flying a consignment of condoms from Singapore to Sudan on behalf of the United States development agency USAID in an effort to prevent the spread of disease.
But a 1997 order from the US Department of Transportation prohibits “any transportation of cargo to or from Sudan anywhere in the world”. The blanket order was issued after the US imposed trade sanctions against the African nation, but the sanctions exempted humanitarian transactions–a dispensation the DOT left out of its order, and did not update when sanctions were loosened in 2006.
And so UPS has diligently filed paperwork requesting the DOT to approve its one-off flight sometime between May and September transporting an undisclosed number of 35 mm male lubricated latex condoms made in China by the Qinqdao Double Butterfly Group. UPS even sent a copy of its requests to competitors Atlas Air, Evergreen, Federal Express, Kalitta, and Polar Express in case there are any objections.
UPS says the consignment is destined for Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, an autonomous region expected to become an indepedent country this July. Its flag features black, white, red, and green stripes similar to other Arab’ nations but has the unique attribute of a blue triangle with a gold star–the same two colours the condoms are planned to arrive in.