Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Unite have joined forces to fly in NHS medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline and Virgin Group’s not-for-profit arm chartered Boeing 787-9 aircraft to fly from Shanghai to London with 350,000 pieces of protective and medical equipment in the hold and cabin.
This includes respirators, ventilator parts, face masks, scrubs, aprons and eye protectors.
Manned by seven pilots and four cabin crew, the flight is scheduled to land at 4.50pm today (3 April) into Heathrow.
“Despite a decrease in passengers travelling, demand to transport cargo remains strong, keeping global supply chains running and transporting essential supplies around the world,” said Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo.
He thanked Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in helping organise the project.
Jean Oelwang, founding chief executive and president of Virgin Unite, added: “Millions of first responders, nurses, doctors and other NHS staff are working tirelessly day and night on the frontline of this crisis.
“They are true heroes in this crisis, and we are humbled to have the opportunity to get this much-needed equipment to them.”
This is the first time since its launch in 1984 that Virgin Atlantic has been operating a cargo-only flights schedule.