...Cash-Strapped Airlines Donate Planes...

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Of course, without the planes, the airlift would be impossible and the Air Transport Association gets the credit for organizing the aircraft. Member airlines, many of them on the ropes financially, have pitched in with only vague assurances that some of their costs, such as fuel, might be covered. Crews are flying voluntarily and company executives are also helping out. "This extraordinary civilian airlift is unprecedented in U.S. history and is a shining example of how America can come together to help those in need," ATA President James May told The Associated Press. However, even in the midst of catastrophe, security is not taking a back seat. Some of the first flights into New Orleans carried Transportation Security Administration screeners, air marshals and law enforcement officers. May said screening the refugees is necessary because they are under stress and some have guns.