British Airways has become the latest carrier to join the fight against India’s second wave of COVID-19. Tonight, one of the airline’s Boeing 777-200 aircraft will fly 27 tonnes of medical aid from London Heathrow to Delhi. Like many others, British Airways is not charging for this humanitarian flight.
India is currently facing the worst COVID-19 crisis seen by a country since the start of the pandemic. On Friday, the country reported over 400,000 new cases of the virus in one day, making it the first country to do so. The whole aviation industry has come together to support the country as it deals with this humanitarian crisis, with the German Government’s VIP A350 even lending a hand with five tons of aid at the weekend.
British Airways gets involved in the fight
Throughout the past week, we’ve seen countless stories of airlines getting involved in helping India as it faces a humanitarian crisis. Now, the British Flag carrier is also getting involved. Later today, G-YMMH is set to fly to Delhi.
Interestingly, the airline has not opted to use one of its makeshift freighters with no passenger seats for the flight. The flight will be piloted by Captain Manesh Patel, who has been working with British Airways and local organizations to make the flight possible.
The Boeing 777-200 will be loaded with 1,349 items of aid, weighing around 27 tonnes. The items include life-saving equipment such as oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, respirators, and blood oxygen level monitors. Care packages for families in need are also being carried. These have been donated directly by British Airways.
According to the airline, the remainder of the aid has been sourced from multiple parties, including the High Commission of India and charities such as Khalsa Aid. Late last week, we reported that Virgin Atlantic was also flying aid to Delhi on behalf of Khalsa Aid.
British Airways foots the bill
IAG and British Airways are jointly footing the bill of flying the aid out to India. Since India was placed on the UK Government’s red list, the airline has been unable to fly passengers directly from India to the UK. It has kept its link between the two countries open throughout the pandemic. This has primarily been to preserve the flow of cargo between the two nations, in addition to passengers when permitted.
Commenting on the flight, Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said,
“The British Airways family has been deeply affected by the terrible scenes in India of the deepening humanitarian crisis that has impacted the lives of many of our people. We are fortunate to be in a position to help transport aid and I am so proud of the volunteers from across the airline and IAG Cargo who have stepped up to make this happen.”
What do you make of British Airways’ humanitarian aid flight? Which other airlines have you seen get involved? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below.