Cargo operators, airlines rush to India’s aid
Airlines responded to India’s health crisis by bringing in much needed supplies, with some waiving fees and others pooling donations,
May 3, 2021
By PLA Editor
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India had a brief break from the rapid spike in daily Covid-19 cases last Saturday as the country logged just below the 400,000 daily average since the start of April. On Sunday, however, it saw a record 3,689 deaths, amidst hospitals filled to capacity, a shortage in oxygen supplies and swamped morgues and crematoriums.
Starting last week, the world’s airlines have been responding to the country’s health crisis by bringing in much needed relief supplies, with some waiving delivery fees for vital cargo and others pooling donations from their pockets. Here are some of the developments over the last week:
Qatar Airways: The Doha-based carrier is supporting international efforts to tackle the second COVID-19 surge in India by shipping medical aid and equipment free of charge from global suppliers. The airline intends to transport 300 tonnes of aid from across its network to Doha where it will be flown in a three direct cargo flights to destinations in India. The cargo shipment will include PPE equipment, oxygen canisters and other essential medical items, with donations from individuals and companies in addition to existing cargo orders.
Lufthansa Cargo: The German airline has been loading urgent cargo on its scheduled flight LH760 from Frankfurt to Delhi. On three flights last week, 10 tonnes of medical equipment made its way to India, including 280 oxygen concentrators on Thursday alone. The equipment is part of a larger consignment that time-critical transport specialist time:matters is carrying out on behalf of a customer.
FedEx Express: An initial shipment of 1,000 oxygen concentrators was delivered to New Delhi last Friday as part of a collective initiative by multinational companies. The integrator is working with nonprofit Direct Relief to move more than 800 kilos of medicine and personal protective equipment to India. Kawal Preet, president for AMEA, comments, “this is a time to come together so we have mobilized our global network and our team members to help the communities in India where we live and work.”
Spicejet: SpiceJet’s air cargo arm airlifted 1,100 oxygen concentrators from Singapore to Bengaluru in two consignments last Friday night. The Indian carrier moved a first batch of 800 devices and a second consignment of 1,000 concentrators from Hong Kong to Delhi on 24 and 28 April last week. The medical devices were ordered by healthcare subsidiary SpiceHealth for emergency use and distribution across India. SpiceXpress used its A340 wide-body cargo plane to move 600 oxygen concentrators from the US, whilst its B737 freighter aircraft moved the concentrators from Singapore. Today the airline delivered another 700 of the oxygen devices from Guangzhou, bringing the total number transported to 4,400.
Boeing: The aircraft manufacturer has pledged $10 million in emergency assistance package for India. Boeing is partnering with several relief organisations for distribution to affected communities, in coordination medical, government and public health experts. The company is calling for donations from staff and will match the pooled funds to extend further assistance. Boeing’s presence in the country stretches more than seven decades and encompasses the Tata-Boeing joint venture, which manufactures parts and components for products across the enterprise portfolio. It currently has 3,000 employees in India, in addition to local customers, suppliers, and business partners.