On April 28th, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sent 14 tons of medical and food supplies to Pakistan. The supplies were carried onboard an Etihad Airways plane. This was the third batch of aid sent to the South Asian country.
Etihad files aid to Pakistan
The Embassy of the UAE in Pakistan posted the following update on its Twitter account:
The United Arab #Emirates sends third batch of medical and food supplies to the Islamic Republic of #Pakistan, which contains 14 tons and will benefit more than 7,000 health care workers to enhance efforts to contain the spread of Corona virus pic.twitter.com/vLEpfYfkGd
— UAE Embassy PK (@uaeembassyisb) April 28, 2020
According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, Pakistan has 14,612 cases of the virus, with 312 deaths. Not just in Pakistan, but around the world, countries with a rising number of cases are relying on the shipment of supplies. This includes medical aid from masks, gloves, other personal protective equipment to ventilators.
To get these supplies from the UAE to Pakistan, the country relied on flag carrier, Etihad, to transport the goods. While most of Etihad’s fleet is not in commercial operation, some planes are still flying.
The global coronavirus pandemic has left Etihad struggling to find sources of revenue. For now, the airline is looking at resuming flights from the middle of next month. In the meantime, however, the carrier is flying some repatriation flights and aid flights like this.
The coronavirus pandemic is leading many people to reconsider how they travel. And now, this is extending to airlines. Etihad is trying out new kiosks that monitor passenger health at its hub in Abu Dhabi.
Pakistan flight suspensions
Pakistan is not allowing commercial flights with international suspensions extended through mid-May. This is in an effort to contain the virus and keep infected persons from bringing additional cases to the country.
In spite of this, Pakistan has been conducting repatriation flights. It is, however, unclear if there were any Pakistani citizens onboard the Etihad 777. This would help explain why such a large jet was chartered to conduct the flight.
A6-ETQ is a six-year-old Boeing 777-300ER that is still in Etihad’s old livery. The aircraft flew into Islamabad from Abu Dhabi on April 28th, according to data from Flightradar24. After a few hours on the ground, the plane returned to its hub in the UAE.
Onboard, the 777s have a bit outdated product. Do not expect a new cutting-edge business class like its competitor Qatar. But, the carrier has been focused on returning to profitability amid negative financial performance leaving retrofits out of the question. Although, with aircraft on the ground, the airline is conducting some maintenance, such as replacing seat covers.
The 777 can carry far more cargo than the amount transported in this flight. However, there may have been other cargo aside from the aid onboard the aircraft. Or else, as mentioned before, perhaps there could have been some repatriation passengers onboard.
Back in February, before this crisis hit, Etihad signed an agreement to sell and leaseback some 777s in a bid to earn some cash.
What do you make of this aid flight? Let us know in the comments!