Spain’s national flag carrier Iberia has recently opened up an all-important medical supply corridor between Madrid, Shanghai, and Tokyo. In doing so, it will transport much needed medical supplies from China and Japan to Europe.
On top of this, Iberia is working on directives from Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. The airline has so far conducted more than 20 repatriation flights to Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Japan, Panama, Peru, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Senegal, Algeria, and Uruguay.
In addition to the repatriation flights that brought 6,000 stranded Spaniards back to Spain; the oneworld alliance member has carried around 70,000 additional passengers since the COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China.
Most passengers are foreigners flying home
Most of the additional passengers comprised mainly foreign nationals from the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Chile who were looking to get home. Together with its human cargo, the IAG-owned airline will in the coming days operate four special medical supply flights to and from the Far East as Spain battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Spain is currently the worst-hit country in Europe after Italy. As of yesterday Saturday, March 29th, 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus arose, taking the total past 78,000.
As the county’s intensive care units edge ever closer to breaking point, Iberia has donated 2,200 pillows, 9,000 duvets,5,500 hospital gowns, and 20,000 toilet kits to patients suffering from the virus.
Spain anticipates the peak is near
The good news, if there is any to be had, is that the Spanish health authorities now believe that the virus may be nearing its peak and infection rates will soon start to decline.
When speaking to news website The Local, head of the Ministry of Health, Fernando Simón said:
“The increase is slowing or stabilizing little by little and we appear to be very close to peaking.”
Despite the positive news, Spain is struggling to cope with the number of people becoming infected, leading the epidemiologist to add:
“The patients who are getting infected today are going to need a bed… within seven to 10 days,” he said, indicating that it could still take another week before beds would become readily available.
“We really need a sharper drop in infections so that we don’t reach this capacity crisis.”
Iberia will use an A350 for Shanghai and Tokyo flights
The flights will operate using an Airbus A350-900 with the cooperation of the Spanish medical technology company FENIN and the Oesía technology group.
The above two companies will see three flights from Shanghai arrive on March 30th, March 31st, and April 1st, during which time they are expected to carry close to 90 tonnes of medical supplies.
The special flight to Tokyo, which as of yet has no specific date, will fly to Japan to repatriate Spanish citizens who are stranded in the country after airlines started canceling flights.
Together with the above-mentioned flights and donations to coronavirus patients, Iberia has transported 23 respirators from small business owners in Brussels and Munich to Madrid hospitals to help cope with the large influx of coronavirus patients.