In recent weeks India has been extremely hard hit by a significant spike in COVID-19 cases. Responding to this crisis, Qatar Airways is shipping medical aid and equipment from global suppliers to the country for free through its hub in Doha. The airline joins several Indian airlines already working hard to transport critical equipment across India.
300 tonnes of aid
In a statement, Qatar Airways says that it intends to transport 300 tonnes of aid from across its global network to Doha. From there, the airline will operate a “three-flight cargo aircraft convoy” directly to destinations in India where this aid is most desperately needed.
“The State of Qatar has a long and special relationship with India, and we have watched with great sorrow as COVID-19 has once again caused a significant challenge to the country.” -Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive, Qatar Airways Group
The cargo shipment will include essential medical items such as PPE equipment, oxygen canisters, and more. These supplies will come from donations by individuals and companies around the world, in addition to existing cargo orders.
Providing support throughout the crisis
Al Baker adds that his airline group stands ready to provide humanitarian support, with his cargo division, Qatar Airways Cargo, having already transported over 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for UNICEF as part of a five-year MoU.
Since the early days of this crisis, Qatar Airways has been active in flying much-needed aid around the world. The airline provided similar aid flights to China, shipping supplies to Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, something Simple Flying covered in detail.
The first delivery of medical relief aid by Qatar Airways Cargo was flown on February 2nd, 2020, to Shanghai. This shipment included 100,000 medical-grade N95 respiratory masks as well as 2,700 medical-grade disposable latex gloves.
As the crisis worsened and spread to other parts of the world, the airline responded accordingly. In March alone, Qatar Airways carried 50 million kilograms, or 50 thousand tonnes, of medical supplies to countries that needed it. Supplies were flown on dedicated freighters as well as in the belly hold of passenger flights.
The work of Indian carriers
Indian carriers are already hard at work transporting critical, life-saving equipment and supplies.
SpiceXpress, the cargo arm of SpiceJet, has already transported thousands of oxygen concentrators, with one shipment of 1,000 coming from Hong Kong yesterday. The airline intends to fly in as many as 20,000 oxygen concentrators from vendors worldwide to meet the critical demand in India.
Meanwhile, full-service carrier Vistara has been offering free tickets to all doctors and nurses working for government organizations when traveling for service.
Finally, nearly every Indian airline has been transporting COVID-19 vaccines around the country. The vaccines are produced within the country, at the Serum Insitute’s Pune mega-hub and Bharat Biotech’s facility in Hyderabad.
Do you think other airlines will be joining in? Let us know in the comments.