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How IAG Cargo is keeping hundreds of tonnes of vital medical supplies moving

IAG Cargo coronavirus

IAG Cargo is operating a global network of cargo-only flights to transport critical medical supplies around the world in the fight against coronavirus (covid-19).

Shipments have included 55 tonnes of hand sanitiser bound for the NHS on a single flight.

It is leading on coordinating efforts across International Airlines Group (IAG) airlines including Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia, to transport vital goods, including personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser and ventilators.

Since March, IAG Cargo and its sister airlines are operating charter and cargo-only flights on passenger aircraft with shipments including:

  • Hand sanitiser supplies from China, India and the Middle East to London Heathrow destined for the NHS. The largest shipment booked to date has been a single charter on a British Airways aircraft carrying 55 tonnes. More than 100 tonnes of sanitiser have been shipped since March.
  • A large consignment of PPE for the NHS, carried on a British Airways B777-300 aircraft.
  • Aer Lingus and IAG Cargo are operating up to five flights per day from Beijing to Dublin to transport PPE. This is set to run for two months in a critical supply operation for the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE).
  • Iberia carried 90 tonnes of medical supplies and protective materials from Shanghai to Madrid, on three return flights from 31 March to 1 April.
  • The first round-trip on the Shanghai – Madrid ‘medical air-corridor’ included 3 million face masks. In total, IAG Cargo has now transported more than 10 million masks on the Iberia network alone.

Since 2 April, 60 tonnes of PPE have been carried in several flights between Mexico City and Madrid.

Iberia transported 23 respirators from Brussels and Munich to supplement intensive care units in five Madrid hospitals. The airline has also brought medical supplies from Tokyo.

Additional consignments have included 3.5 tonnes of sanitary suits from Seoul to Dublin; 1.2 tonnes of face masks from New Delhi to Newark, USA; 4 tonnes of medical parts and accessories from JFK to Shannon and 2 tonnes of lab instrumentation and medical supplies from Boston to Milan.

IAG Cargo’s chief executive, Lynne Embleton, said: “The events of recent weeks have put our adaptiveness and agility as a business to the test. We have provided new services through charters and cargo-only flights and established new routes to put freight capacity where it is needed.

“The whole IAG Cargo team is proud to be providing these key services to maintain the flow of food and essentials and to support the unprecedented demand for medical items. We are working closely with airlines, governments, health authorities and industry partners to keep these vital supplies moving.”

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