Airbus Proposes Using A340s For Long-Haul COVID Patient Transport

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Airbus today shared that it is proposing a solution to swiftly convert passenger aircraft into a Medical-Evacuation (MEDEVAC) configuration. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the European plane manufacturer promotes the use of its A330 and A340 jets as platforms to transport patients on long distances.

A340
Airbus is looking to put its long-haul jets to good use. Photo: Getty Images

A team effort

According to a press release seen by Simple Flying, Airbus Commercial Aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space, and Airbus Helicopters have been working together on this solution. The departments also aligned with the French Ministry of Health on this project.

“The French DGS (Direction Générale de la Santé) has actively supported Airbus by providing all the medical specifications associated with Covid-19 patients in intensive care and low care,” Airbus said, as per the press release.

“In six weeks, the team defined solutions based on A330/A340 platform which is capable of carrying COVID-19 patients in intensive care over a long-range distance. The concept has been subsequently fine-tuned and Airbus is now in a position to offer a mature solution to any customers wishing to perform MEDEVAC operations.”

MEDEVAC Airbus
The transportation of COVID-19 patients is a sensitive process. Photo: Airbus

Rising to the challenge

The pandemic continues to take its toll on the lives of many across the globe. The aviation market is also feeling the brunt of the virus’ impact. However, the industry continues to serve a crucial role in tackling the crisis.

While standard passenger services are at an all-time low, airlines are ramping up other types of helpful services. For instance, several carriers are performing more cargo flights than ever. Many of these shipments carry essential goods and medical supplies that are vital during this period.

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Additionally, there are a number of firms that are performing repatriation flights. These operations help stranded individuals make their way home during these uncertain times.

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On top of these important services, aircraft are also transporting COVID-19 patients. The virus is highly contagious, and it can become complex to treat in those that are severely suffering. Therefore, the planes that are holding these patients need to be configured carefully.

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Airbus MEDEVAC Interior
While several aircraft have had their interiors stripped to fit in cargo, the space can also be used to provide an air ambulance service. Photo: Airbus

The right tools

The Airbus A330 and A340 were both launched in the early 1990s and have plenty of experience over the years. Amid the Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2015, an A340-300 was converted into a specialized aircraft in record time. On the plane, patients received treatment under quarantine conditions.

So, due to it performing well during a previous medical crisis, the widebody would serve well once again. Altogether, with several nations struggling to keep on top of the pandemic, and the direction of the crisis hard to navigate, these unique configurations could help save many lives.

What are your thoughts about Airbus’ proposal? Do you feel that these configurations would help? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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