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  • Joe Breitfeller

British Airways Launches Emergency Airlift With 27 Tons of Urgent Medical Supplies for India

As the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis in India worsens, British Airways, supported by its sister company IAG Cargo, will fly 27 tons of critical aid to Delhi this evening. The airlift will include 1,349 aid items, which will be transported on an aircraft specially chartered by British Airways.


British Airways Airlifts 27 Tons of Critical Medical Supplies to India - Courtesy British Airways

On Wednesday (May 5, 2021), British Airways announced that with support form its sister company IAG Cargo, the carrier will airlift 27 tons of critical medical supplies to India as the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis worsens. The airlift will include 1,349 aid items which will be transported to Delhi tonight on a Boeing 777-200, which has been specially chartered by British Airways and will be supported by airline volunteers. British Airways has commissioned a special project team to organize the flight which will depart at 5:00 pm tonight (May 5, 2021) as BA257F, and will land in Delhi at 5:45 am local time on Thursday, May 6, 2021.


The B777-200 will be loaded with over a thousand items from the High Commission of India and charities including Khalsa Aid International and BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest Hindu temple outside of India, located in Neasden, London. The shipment includes hundreds of urgent life-saving oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, respirators and blood oxygen saturation monitors, as well as care packages for families in need donated by British Airways. Although IAG Cargo and British Airways have maintained a vital airlink between London and India throughout the pandemic, tonight’s special airlift charter has been fully funded by the two companies companies.


In Wednesday’s announcement, British Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, Sean Doyle, said,


“The British Airways family has been deeply affected by the terrible scenes in India of the deepening humanitarian crisis that has impacted the lives of many of our people. We are fortunate to be in a position to help transport aid and I am so proud of the volunteers from across the airline and IAG Cargo who have stepped up to make this happen. We continue to stand with our friends in India as the country endures one of the worst crises it has ever known.”


Tonight's Humanitarian Airlift Will Include Vital Life-Saving Oxygen Cylinders - Courtesy British Airways

British Airways is also working in partnership with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is organizing the UK’s response to the humanitarian crisis in India. Speaking on the UK’s humanitarian response, DEC’s Chief Executive, Saleh Saeed, said,


“The DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to respond quickly and effectively to disasters, with the fantastic support of partners in the corporate sector, including British Airways. We are hugely grateful to British Airways for springing into action to support our emergency appeals, enabling us to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people in India and elsewhere across the world when disaster strikes.”


Captain Minesh Patel, a member of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Temple, is commanding the relief service and has been instrumental in organizing the special airlift charter. Commenting about tonight’s airlift, Captain Patel, said,


“It seemed natural to connect British Airways with the wealth of aid and relief material amassed by BAPS in the UK to enable the medical supplies to reach the organisation’s volunteers in India who can provide relief, medical and social aid to the victims in the worst affected regions.”


Further commenting on the humanitarian air collaboration efforts, Neasden Temple’s Spokesperson, Kamlesh Patel, said,


“We are extremely grateful to our friends at British Airways for organising this relief flight to India. Through the fundraising efforts at Neasden Temple we will be sending essential medical supplies on this consignment, including 50 oxygen concentrators. Our deepest gratitude goes to all those who have contributed to this relief effort and we continue to pray for our friends and families in India during this challenging time.”


In addition to the previously described aid, British Airways team members have also raised several thousand pounds for the DEC’s appeal through internal online donations. DEC-funded aid includes medical supplies, treatment facilities and logistics support for India’s healthcare system and assistance to vulnerable families with basic supplies such as water, soap, handwashing stations and information. To donate to the DEC appeal, please click here.



Source: British Airways