TRENTON – Two major U.S. air carriers with hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport are offering free flights to health care recruits headed to New Jersey to assist in the state’s efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement Monday.

United Airlines and Delta Airlines, in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Health, are offering the free round-trip flights for previously vetted volunteers to Newark from any airport in the nation. The first volunteer arrived Monday from Atlanta and another group is due in Tuesday from Colorado.

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“I’d like to personally thank United and Delta Airlines for stepping up to help New Jersey in this time of need,” Murphy said. “We are in urgent need of volunteers and programs like this will allow us to draw help not just from the great people of New Jersey, but from the rest of the country as well.”

Any interested volunteers with medical training should contact the New Jersey Department of Health at https://covid19.nj.gov/forms/volunteer to coordinate the flight.  The flights are open only to approved volunteers.

“We are witnessing the heroic efforts of our medical professionals around the world as they combat COVID-19, and we have deep gratitude for their selfless sacrifice,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer. “Air travel plays a significant role in making connections in both good and challenging times, and our hope is that offering free travel gives more of these professionals the ability to help in critical areas of the U.S.”

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate our local communities, we are fully committed to supporting the state of New Jersey, home to our Newark hub, on behalf of our customers and employees and do our part in providing air travel at no cost to medical volunteers,” said Jill Kaplan, president, New York / New Jersey for United Airlines. "Frontline healthcare workers are our heroes and we are overwhelmingly grateful to them for their unwavering commitment and selfless dedication supporting those communities in need.”