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Published on Sunday, April 5, 2020

Virgin flies essential medical supplies from China






Virgin Atlantic teamed up with the Virgin Group's not-for-profit foundation Virgin Unite to fly essential medical supplies and PPE equipment for the NHS on a special charter flight from Shanghai.


Manned by seven pilots and four cabin crew, the Dreamliner carried over 350,000 items of essential PPE supplies and medical equipment including respirators, ventilator parts, face masks, scrubs, aprons and eye protection in both the hold and in the cabin of the aircraft. 


MD of Virgin Atlantic Cargo Dominic Kennedy, said: "We are incredibly grateful to the NHS for everything they are doing for the nation in extremely challenging circumstances, as they respond to the Covid-19 crisis. We're pleased we can play a part in supporting them, by bringing crucial supplies in to the UK. With special thanks to the British Embassy in Beijing, the CAA and the UK Government in expediting clearances to make this possible."


Virgin said that despite the decrease in passenger numbers, demand to transport cargo remains strong. "We're looking forward to continuing to partner with the Department for Health and the NHS, working with them on a number of flights over the next few weeks, to bring in the supplies that the teams here in the UK urgently need to care for patients," said Kennedy.


The emergence of Covid-19 has led to Virgin Atlantic operating cargo-only flights, a first for the airline since its launch in 1984. "Special exemptions from the imposed travel restrictions for pilots and cabin crew - whose health and wellbeing remains our top priority - mean that cargo operations can continue, ensuring the airline can continue to support vital supply chains across the globe," added the airline.


Along with other UK airlines, Virgin Atlantiic's staff have been approached to volunteer at several initiatives including the new NHS Nightingale Hospital, the London Ambulance Service, other NHS Hospitals and for the NHS Volunteer Responders.

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