Five Qatar Airways Cargo freighters departed for China Friday, carrying approximately 300 tonnes of medical supplies donated by the airline to support coronavirus relief efforts.
The five flights departed one after the other bound for Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou as part of Qatar Airways’ voluntary offer of free air cargo transportation for medical relief aid organised by Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide to fight the coronavirus emergency, the airline said in a statement.
Inside one of the aircraft
The supplies being loaded onto one of the aircraft
The convoy is made up of two Boeing 747F and three Boeing 777F aircraft
Qatar Airways Group chief executive HE Akbar al-Baker said, “When this crisis began, we knew we had to contribute to support our friends in China. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, we are in a unique position where we are able to provide immediate humanitarian support through the provision of aircraft and donating medical supplies as well as coordinating logistical arrangements.
"By working with the Chinese embassy in Qatar, we hope our combined efforts can help limit the spread of this virus, ease the burden on local medical personnel and provide relief to the impacted communities in China.”
Chinese ambassador to Qatar Zhou Jian, who attended the convoy’s departure along with the Qatar Airways Group chief executive, said: “At this critical moment, when Chinese people nationwide are fighting against the coronavirus, Qatar Airways has opened a 'Green Channel' for donating and transporting medical supplies to China. This is a channel of love, friendship, solidarity and hope. We are deeply grateful for that.
“The kindness of Qatar fully reflects the fraternal friendship the Qatari government and the people of Qatar have for the Chinese people. It is also a symbol of Qatar’s internationalism, and a symbol of solidarity among the international community to stand together in the face of difficulties. On behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people. I would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the brotherly Qatari people.”
Friday’s convoy follows an earlier batch of critical medical relief aid transported by Qatar Airways Cargo to Shanghai on February 2. The shipment included 100,000 medical-grade N95 respiratory masks and 2,700 medical-grade disposable latex gloves, providing essential protection to healthcare professionals working round the clock at hospitals in Hubei Province, the epicentre of the virus.
The airline is planning to transport additional donations in the coming weeks, the statement notes.
The ‘Green Channel’ initiative for complimentary air transportation was announced jointly by Qatar Airways and the Chinese embassy in Qatar on February 7. Qatar Airways is the first international airline to volunteer emergency relief flight delivery.
Qatar Airways is also working closely with the World Health Organisation and local authorities worldwide to safeguard the health and safety of its employees and passengers. Its modern fleet is protected with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration systems, eliminating 99.97% of fine airborne particles from circulating air in cabins, greatly restricting the spread of airborne fungi, viruses and bacteria, the statement adds.
Qatar Airways operates a fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport, to more than 170 destinations worldwide. The airline will add Osaka, Japan; Santorini, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Almaty and Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan; Accra, Ghana; Cebu, the Philippines; Lyon, France; Trabzon, Turkey; Siem Reap, Cambodia; and Luanda, Angola, to its extensive network in 2020.