additionally air-lift, 1893 as a form of pumping unit; 1945 in the good sense "transport of supplies by environment," from environment (n.1) + raise (n.). As a verb by 1949; popularized in mention of the the reaction to the western Berlin blockade. Relevant: Air-lifted; air-lifting.
transportation of people or items by environment (especially when various other means of accessibility are unavailable)
- fly folks or items to or from places perhaps not obtainable by other means
Brady looked over the newest results then called for a helo to airlift them.