Right now the COVID-19 pandemic is present in 199 countries with over 735,000 cases. During these difficult times, the aviation industry has shown how important unity and solidarity is.
Last week we wrote about how Embraer started a partnership for manufacture parts to the ventilator and respirator industry. In this article, we will show you how Airbus and Boeing are helping.
On March 22nd Airbus deployed the first aircraft, an A330-800 test aircraft, ( F-WTTO) to assist with coronavirus protection measures; using it to transport around 2 million masks from Tianjin, China to Toulouse, France.
“As Airbus, we have also donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services across Europe in the last days, and will continue to do so, as much as we can.”said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury
One day later an A400M (MSN56) performed an air-bridge between Toulouse and Madrid. The propose of this flight was to deliver critically-needed mask supplies to the Spanish health system.
Spain has the third-highest number of cases of COVID-19 in the world, with over 85,000 and 7,300 deaths.
Airbus made another flight to China, this time with the A330MRTT. The aircraft, an A330-200 (EC-338), was undergoing a conversion as a Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) at the time. It took off on 26th March from the Airbus Getafe site in Spain, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 27th March.
It returned to Spain on 28th March with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks. These will be used in hospitals and for workers in public services in France, Spain, Germany and the UK.
“We are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times,”said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.
Boeing has offered one of their largest aircraft to supply medical aid, the Dreamlifter. The aircraft can help with the transport of critical, and urgently needed, supplies to healthcare professionals.
The aircraft manufacturer will also use their 3D printing capabilities, at several facilities across the United States, to manufacture face shields to help protect those who are on the front lines fighting the virus. The initial goal is to produce thousands of face shields each week, followed by subsequent production increases.
These machines are located across the country in St. Louis, Missouri, El Segundo, California, Mesa, Arizona, Huntsville, Alabama and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The use of these machines is part of the initial response, they will continue to be used as long as the facilities that house them are in operation. The ability to continue operating depends on federal, state and local health officials, also the health and safety of Boeing employees.
As of today Boeing has donated tens of thousands of masks, gloves and other equipment to hospitals in need. The manufacturer also says that they are analyzing several other ways to use the engineering, manufacturing and logistics expertise to help the cause.