Air Canada has become the most recent airline to send a cargo-only aid flight to India today. The flag carrier sent one of its Boeing 787-9s filled with 40 tons of oxygen concentrators, generators, PPE, and more to battle India’s second COVID wave. Canada suspended passenger flights from India in April due to the rising cases and thread of new variants.
Air Canada announced that it is sending its first cargo-only aid flight to India today. The Dreamliner departed Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at 11:00 AM local time and is near the coast of Canada at the time of writing.
The flight is carrying 40 tons of emergency aid, which includes oxygen cylinders and generators, PPE, and 100 ventilators. The latter came as a donation from the government of Saskatchewan. The remaining aid is from the Canadian government and partners like the Toronto Business Development Centre.
In a statement about the special flight, Air Canda’s Vice-President of Cargo, Jason Berry, said,
“We are all deeply saddened by the devastating situation in India, and no one can remain indifferent to what is happening now in that part of the world…When flights to India were suspended on April 22, the movement of essential goods between the two countries was also halted. Today, with this exceptional cargo-only flight, we are grateful to be able to help and contribute to these relief efforts by shipping critical medical supplies.”
While the flight is destined for New Delhi, the aircraft will make a stop in Doha, according to Radarbox.com. This will split the usually 14 hours and 40-minute journey into two legs of 12 hours and 4 hours each. The aircraft is likely making the stop in Doha to avoid a layover in Delhi.
Air Canada’s regular passenger service to India is yet to resume due to travel restrictions. Both countries had agreed to a schedule months in advance, although the situation has since moved drastically. With thousands of citizens living in each other’s respective countries and strong VFR ties, flights will likely resume for repatriation soon.
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Not the only one
Air Canada is not the first airline to send aid to India, not by a long shot. As cases began shooting up in late April, Qatar Airways became the first to transport vital aid at no additional cost. Soon after, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, British Airways, and many more began sending flights will essentials. Emirates recently set up a humanitarian airbridge to transport crucial aid for free.
While cases remain astronomically high in India, the second has slowly begun to slow down in recent days. With this, the pressure on the healthcare system will likely ease in the next few weeks, reducing shortages of oxygen and ventilators. For now, India is accepting any aid being on offer to save lives.