On April 3rd, an A350-1000 departed Toulouse en route to Airbus’ Final Assembly Line site in Tianjin, China. On the return flight, Airbus transported four million face masks back to Europe for distribution.
Ferrying supplies back to Europe
The A350-1000 landed in France on Sunday, April 5th. This was the third cargo flight back from China with essential medical supplies. The four million face masks on board the aircraft will go out to Airbus’ home countries including France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus, offered the following statement:
“I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They’re living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day.”
Airbus and the COVID-19 pandemic
From a business standpoint, airlines are seeking to defer aircraft deliveries and are not ordering any new planes for now. As a result, Airbus’ orders and deliveries book will likely take a negative hit.
In recent days, the aircraft manufacturer is working to help combat this pandemic. In addition to supporting aircraft, helicopter, space and security customers, Airbus has also deployed its employees in a technical manner. Utilizing their expertise, Airbus employees are designing and manufacturing ventilators and 3D printed visors for use in hospitals against this pandemic.
Other flights to China
In recent weeks, Airbus has joined the leagues of airlines flying in supplies to and around Europe. The last two trips were not conducted with an Airbus A350-1000. One was done with an A330-800. Another with an A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).
Within Europe, Airbus has flown supplies around using an A400M airlifter and the iconic Beluga to transport medical aid around.
The role of aviation in combating the COVID-19 pandemic
Airlines play an important role in linking the world not just with passengers but also cargo. This is why a number of airlines are operating cargo-only flights. Restricting the movement of passengers helps to limit the number of people flying around. But, the movement of cargo could mean the difference between life and death or the difference between preparation and overwhelming a hospital.
Airbus dispatched the largest A350 variant to China to bring back essential medical supplies to Europe. This flight carried about four million face masks from China back to some of the hardest-hit countries in the world. For those without a medical degree seeking to help against this, there are a number of local at-home volunteering opportunities worth exploring. Although it may be disappointing to stay at home, this is one of the biggest ways health agencies around the world are saying will help limit the spread of this virus and save lives.
What do you think about Airbus’ operations bringing supplies to Europe from China? Let us know in the comments!