Virgin Atlantic has shipped more than 3.5 million items of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to the UK during the coronavirus crisis, with supplies destined for frontline NHS workers.
The airline has so far operated five cargo-only flights from Shanghai to Heathrow, each carrying around 16 tonnes of medical equipment.
A sixth charter is due to arrive at Heathrow on Tuesday afternoon (21 April) thanks to special dispensation from the CAA, with two more flights planned later this month.
To maximise capacity, Virgin has been cleared to transport cargo in the cabin as well as the hold. In total, the eight flights will deliver more than 100 tonnes of PPE and other medical equipment.
Each 26-hour round trip is staffed by seven pilots and four cabin crew, who rotate duties and rest time.
Since the first charter on 3 April, Virgin has shipped more than 80 tonnes of supplies including 50 ventilators, 1.8 million face masks, 600,000 face shields and visors, one million disposable gloves, 38,000 pieces of eye protection and 75,000 protective coveralls and isolation gowns.