British Airways Flies Boeing 777 Relief Flight To India

For the second time in two weeks, a British Airways aircraft has landed in India carrying much-needed COVID-19 medical supplies. The emergency aid comes following 4,194 COVID-19 related deaths on Saturday. Despite having seen the outbreak stabilize in many of the country’s largest cities, the worry now is that the virus is spreading to rural areas where public health resources are scarce and overwhelmed.

British Airways Boeing 777-300ER
A British Airways COVID-19 aid relief flight arriving in New Delhi. Photo: British Airways

British Airways cargo-only flight BA257 took off from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 18:00 for New Delhi carrying 18 tons of medical supplies. After a just over eight-hour flight, the aircraft, a British Airways Boeing 777-336ER, touched down safely at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL).

Charities donated the supplies

The medical supplies included hundreds of oxygen canisters donated from the Oxfam, Khalsa Aid, Christian Aid, and LPSUK charities. Also contributing to the flight was British Airways fuel partner Air bp.

The flight from LHR to DEL took 8hrs 5mins. Image:

When speaking about how grateful they were for British Airways help in a statement released yesterday, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB Danny Sriskandarajah stated:

“We’re hugely grateful to British Airways for providing this free cargo space to transport vital aid like PPE and oxygen concentrators to India, where Oxfam and partners are delivering urgent medical supplies to hospitals and health centers in some of the worst-hit areas.

“This emergency kit could mean the difference between life and death for people in India facing a deadly second wave of coronavirus.

“Oxfam is able to respond in India thanks to the generous support of partners such as British Airways and all those who have donated to our emergency appeal.”

BA India COVID-19 relief
18 tons of supplies, including oxygen canisters, were on the flight. Photo: BA

British Airways Chairman and Chief Executive, Sean Doyle, added to the comments, saying:

“Earlier this week, we welcomed customers back onboard as international travel starts to open up, but we are mindful that the fight against COVID-19 is not over yet.

Our business has a deep connection with India, and it is only right that we continue to support by joining our travel and charity partners to transport much-needed medical equipment to India.”

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

British Airways and its partner IAG Cargo have managed to keep vital air links open between the United Kingdom and India throughout the entirety of the pandemic. Together, they have been sending 100s of tons of aid on regularly scheduled flights between London and various Indian cities.

Saturday’s flight, however, was a special charter flight funded by British Airways, Air bp, NATS, HAL, and Indian ground handlers. The meticulous planning and loading of the aircraft took ten days, with British Airways coordinating with charities and partners in the UK and India.

About the charities

All the charities contributing to the aid for India under the umbrella of the London-based Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). The DEC was founded in 1963 to coordinate collective appeals and raise funds to provide rapid relief and emergency aid to people worldwide when disaster strikes. The DEC’s first major appeal came following the 1966 Varto earthquake in Turkey. Since then, the DEC has gone on to raise millions of pounds for people in need worldwide.

India relief
The DEP organized the special charter flight with British Airways. Photo: BA

The DEP is currently made up of the following UK charities:

  • ActionAid
  • Action Against Hunger
  • British Red Cross
  • CAFODCARE International
  • Christian Aid
  • ConcernAge
  • UK Islamic Relief
  • OxfamPlan
  • UK Save the Children
  • Tearfund
  • World Vision

What do you think about British Airways flying COVID-19 aid to India? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.