Airbus has enlisted its A350 test aircraft to fly humanitarian aid to India. Including ventilators and oxygen generators, the shipment is intended to help the country as it remains gripped by its second COVID-19 wave. The wave has proved particularly deadly due to the spread of the Delta variant.
As India grapples with one of the worst COVID-19 spikes seen yet, there has been an outpouring of support from across the world. Aviation has been key to this aid, having the means to move cargo across the globe in short time frames.
Airbus gets involved
It hasn’t just been airlines that have been ferrying humanitarian aid to India. Yesterday, the second A350 to be built took off from Toulouse at 17:38 as AIB201. According to data from RadarBox.com, the jet flew for eight hours and 45 minutes at altitudes between 37,000 feet and 41,000 feet.
It then touched down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in New Delhi at 05:54 this morning. The flight was the second wave of support that Airbus has given India in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday’s flight contained aid, including two oxygen generators, 30 ventilators, and 250 oxygen concentrators.
The aid is in addition to another 26 tonnes already organized in coordination with the French embassy in India. These previous supplies included eight oxygen generators and are already saving lives, having been distributed to areas in need by the Indian Red Cross.
Commenting on the mission, Rémi Maillard, President and MD of Airbus India & South Asia said,
“Airbus stands behind India in solidarity and service. Our focus is to support not only our employees, customers, and partners but also as many people of India as we can. This is our common fight against the virus and we at Airbus are committed to doing our best to help in these challenging times for India and the world.”
A test Airbus A350
Airbus used its demo A350-900 to fly the aid to India. F-WWCF was the second A350 to be built and wears the manufacturer’s carbon fiber livery. According to data from ch-aviation.com, the aircraft first took to the skies on February 26th, 2014. As such, the aircraft clocks in at 7.27 years old.
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Not the first A350 to fly aid to India
Yesterday’s Airbus flight was not the first time that an Airbus A350 has been used to fly aid to India. A month ago, the German government’s VIP A350, registered 10+03, completed a similar mission. That flight has five tonnes of aid onboard, including 120 ventilators and 13 soldiers.
For the German military mission, the A350 was chosen because of its long range of 15,000 km. This allowed the jet to fly from Cologne to New Delhi and then back to Larnaca in Cyprus without refueling. As a result, time on the ground in New Delhi was kept to a minimum. Yesterday’s Airbus flight was only on the ground in India for two hours.
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