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 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).
This morning, a BA relief flight touched down in #India for the second time in 2 weeks as the crisis continues to grip the country. The aircraft was full of critical care equipment, PPE and oxygen concentrators #Oxfam #KhalsaAid #ChristianAid #LPSUKhttps://t.co/J7L1heJh6Y pic.twitter.com/yZpVYX1ajr
— British Airways (@British_Airways) May 22, 2021
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.
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.”
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.”
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BA has kept air links with India open
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.
The DEP is currently made up of the following UK charities:
- Action Against Hunger
- British Red Cross
- CAFODCARE International
- Christian Aid
- UK Islamic Relief
- UK Save the Children
- World Vision
What do you think about British Airways flying COVID-19 aid to India? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.