Emirates Launches Humanitarian Airbridge To India

In a statement released on Sunday, Dubai-based Emirates says it will fly urgently needed medical supplies to India free of charge to help the country battle a devasting upsurge in the number of coronavirus cases. International aid has been pouring into India after the number of people with COVID-19 overwhelmed the county’s hospitals. Vital medicines and oxygen supplies were running out as Indian doctors pleaded with the world to send help any way they can.

Emirates SkyCargo
Emirates launches India humanitarian airbridge to transport urgent COVID-19 relief items. Photo: Emirates

Emirates heard the message loud and clear and has offered to provide any available cargo space on its nine flights to India to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) free of charge. Over the past week, the Gulf carrier has already begun shipping medical equipment and medicines on regularly scheduled and chartered cargo flights to India.

The Dubai IHC is organizing the cargo

Now Emirates SkyCargo’s latest initiative to create a humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India to the next level by helping NGOs get the supplies where they are needed the most. When speaking about Emirates humanitarian airbridge in the company statement, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said:

“India and Emirates are deeply connected, since our first flights to India in 1985. We stand with the Indian people and will do all we can to help India get back on its feet. Emirates has a lot of experience in humanitarian relief efforts, and with 95 weekly flights to nine destinations in India, we will be offering regular and reliable widebody capacity for relief materials. The International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai is the largest crisis relief hub in the world, and we will work closely with them to facilitate the movement of urgent medical supplies.”

WHO Logistics Hub in Dubai
The Dubai IHC is helping Emirates with logistics. Photo: Emirates

A WHO shipment will be on the first flight

More than 12 tons of multi-purpose tents from the World Health Organization (WHO) will be the airbridge’s first flight to Delhi on May 13, with the shipment being organized by the IHC in Dubai. At a press conference to announce the humanitarian airbridge, Emirates divisional senior vice president Nabil Sultan told reporters that Emirates could later use the mechanism to transport humanitarian aid for India from other parts of the world.

“We are absolutely committed to helping India,” he said.

On Sunday, India reported 4,092 new deaths from COVID-19, while the total number of people infected with the coronavirus in the last 24 hours rose to a record 403,738. Health experts in India are suspicious of the government figures and feel that the real number of people dying could be much higher. Morgues and crematoriums cannot cope with the number of bodies they are receiving, leading to people setting up makeshift funeral pyres in car parks and other open spaces.

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Former army medics have been asked to help

Amidst calls for a national lockdown to help stop the spread of the virus, India is now asking former army medics to join final year medical students in assisting hospital personnel.

Emirates has 95 flights a week from Dubai to India. Image: GCmaps

Emirates offers 95 weekly flights to India from its home at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and has five tons of weekly cargo capacity available on flights to the following Indian cities:

  • New Delhi
  • Mumbai
  • Bengaluru
  • Kolkata
  • Ahmedabad
  • Chennai
  • Cochin
  • Hyderabad
  • Trivandrum

Additional airlines worldwide should follow Emirates and offer available cargo space free to NGOs to get urgently needed supplies to India.

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