MIAMI – Qatar Airways (QR) is donating transport of medical aid and equipment to India, a country hit hard by the latest COVID-19 variant.
Three all-cargo flights are planned for May 3 carrying a total of 300 metric tonnes (661,380 pounds) of supplies from global suppliers. The much-needed goods are being consolidated at Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) for an aerial convoy to destinations where the aid is most desperately needed.
“The State of Qatar has a long and special relationship with India, and we have watched with great sorrow as COVID-19 has once again caused a significant challenge to the country,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said in a news release.
India’s total COVID-19 cases are close to reaching 19 million after another world record number of daily infections, as gravediggers worked around the clock to bury victims, and hundreds more were cremated, at a rate of 50 bodies in just half a day according to CNN, in makeshift pyres in parks and parking lots.
According to Reuters, India reported 379,257 new infections and 3,645 new deaths yesterday from this second wave of the virus. Health ministry data shows it is the highest number of fatalities in a single day since the start of the pandemic.
PPE, Oxygen Canisters
The cargo shipment will include PPE equipment, oxygen canisters, and other essential medical items, and consists of donations by individuals and companies around the world in addition to existing cargo orders. Qatar is a major connecting hub for travelers to and from India. The carrier serves numerous destinations on the subcontinent.
“As one of the world air cargo leaders, with an extensive international network, we stand ready to provide humanitarian support by transporting these much-needed supplies, and help the country fight back against this appalling virus,” Al Baker said.
The CEO added, “Qatar Airways Cargo has already transported well over 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for UNICEF as part of the five-year MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to support UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative.”
The airlines operates a fleet of 26 all-cargo aircraft in addition to its belly-cargo capacity on passenger models.
Featured image: Qatar Airways Cargo A7-BFW Boeing 777-FDZ. Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways