Airlines across the world are banding together to ferry urgently needed aid to India. As India deals with a terrifying surge of COVID-19 cases, the race is on to stop unnecessary deaths, with airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa ferrying vital cargo to the nation, such as oxygen concentrators.
The COVID-19 epicenter has been moving around the world. While it started in China, it quickly spread to Europe, before hopping across the Atlantic to South America. More recently, it has made its way to India, where an unprecedented number of COVID-19 cases have been seen, swamping hospitals, and leading to oxygen shortages. Yesterday, a whopping 386,555 new cases were recorded, and many more may go undetected.
Lufthansa carries ten tonnes of aid
Just this week, Lufthansa has transported some ten tonnes of aid to India to assist with a surge of COVID-19 cases. This aid has been carried on LH760 from Frankfurt to Delhi three times this week. Yesterday alone, the company flew 280 oxygen concentrators on the route.
Lufthansa is working with time:matters to sent this shipment to where it is needed. Time:matters is owned by Lufthansa Cargo and specializes in urgent and time-critical international transport. They, themselves, were forwarding the cargo on behalf of another party. While most airlines have grounded or retired their Boeing 747 aircraft, this is not the case at Lufthansa. As such, the airline’s 747-8 passengers aircraft have been carrying the vital cargo in their bellies.
Commenting on the mission, Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, said,
“We see it as our responsibility to play our part in international aid. The dramatic situation in India shows how important it is to transport relief supplies quickly and easily to where they are urgently needed. That is why we at Lufthansa Cargo, together with the Lufthansa Group, are doing everything we can to maintain supply chains worldwide.”
What about Virgin Atlantic?
Virgin Atlantic has also been involved in helping India cope with its COVID-19 surge. Tomorrow, the British carrier will fly 200 boxes of oxygen concentrators on VS800 to Delhi. The airline is also donating cargo space in other aircraft going to India to the Red Cross. This means that the charity will be able to ship urgently needed supplies at no cost. Earlier today, Simple Flying reported that Qatar Airways had launched a similar initiative.
Khalsa Aid will provide the shipment of 200 boxes of oxygen concentrators. It was actually a Virgin Atlantic Pilot, Jas Singh, who came up with the idea. The senior first officer had been due to operate tomorrow’s flight to Delhi regardless, so he reached out to Khalsa Aid to suggest that the British carrier transport the aid.
Meanwhile, another Virgin Atlantic pilot, Training Captain Chris Hall, launched a gofund.me campaign for Virgin Atlantic staff to raise £2,000 to buy ten oxygen concentrators for India. At the time of writing, just over £15,000 had been raised.
Of course, other airlines have also been helping to fly aid to India besides Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa. Which airlines have you seen flying support to India? Let us know in the comments below!