Iberia Group aircraft flew 88 human organs for transplant in 2020, which was half the number of organs donated in Spain. In 2020 Spain’s National Transplant Organisation registered 709 organs donated for transplant and shipped by air on private or commercial flights.
Iberia’s three airlines, the national flag carrier Iberia, Iberia Express, and Iberia Regional Air Nostrum, carried 88 organs. 50% of all those transported aboard commercial flights in Spain. A further 75 organs were transported by IAG-owned partner airline, Barcelona-based Vueling.
The organs were livers and kidneys
All the organs transported by Iberia and its IAG partner airline were livers and kidneys. When appropriately treated, they remain suitable for up to two days before being transplanted in a patient. The organs need to be kept at a cool 0-5 degrees Celcius ( 32- 41 degrees Fahrenheit) and flushed with an organ preservation solution to remain in a stable condition suitable for transplants.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which decimated the aviation industry, Spain’s National Transplant Organisation says the number of such air shipments fell by 12.5%. In 2019 before the medical emergency reached Europe, 880 organs were shipped by air for transplant. In 2020, this number was reduced by 171 to just 709 livers and kidneys. Before the pandemic onset, the annual growth rate between 2013 and 2020 had grown by 43%.
Iberia does not charge to transport organs
In a statement released on July 28, 2021, Iberia says that since 2013, Iberia Group-owned airlines have carried 670 organs for transplant, a contribution which the National Transplant Organisation says is “vital” to the organ donation and transplant program. Iberia is proud to say that it does not charge the National Transplant Organisation for the transport of organs. In addition, Iberia ground staff and flight crews spare no effort to ensure they are given the utmost priority and care.
- The organs are carried on Iberia, Iberia Express, and Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum flights.
- Iberia Group airlines transported half of all human organ air shipments in Spain during the year, and more than half, if you count those transported by Iberia’s IAG partner airline Vueling.
- Iberia is a long-term collaborator with Spain’s National Transplant Organisation and does not charge for its life-saving services.
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What are organ donations and transplantations?
Organ donation is surgically removing an organ or tissue from one person and placing it into another person. Organ transplantations are carried out because the recipient’s organ has failed or has been damaged.
The ability to transplant an organ from one person to another is one of the most significant advances in modern medicine. Unfortunately, for many people who need to receive a vital organ, the need is far greater than the number of organs available for transplantation.
To help alleviate the imbalance, people of all ages should consider being an organ donor. If you elect to become an organ donor when you die, medical professionals decide if you are suitable to be a donor based on your age and medical history.
What do you think about how Iberia helps deliver organs for transplants in Spain? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.