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British Airways Airlifts 27 Tonnes of Aid to India

As the humanitarian crisis in India worsens, British Airways has flown a Boeing 777-200 aircraft loaded with emergency aid to Delhi to support the Indian government as the country continues to battle rising Coronavirus cases with dwindling oxygen supplies.

The airline commissioned a special project team to organise the flight, which departed on Wednesday May 5 at 5pm (BA257F), landing in Delhi at 5.45am (local time) on Thursday May 6. The aircraft is loaded with more than a thousand items from the High Commission of India and charities including Khalsa Aid International and the largest Hindu Temple outside of India, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, in Neasden, London. The load includes hundreds of urgent life-saving oxygen cylinders and shipments of oxygen concentrators, respirators and blood oxygen saturation monitors. British Airways is also donating care packages for families in need.

While IAG Cargo and British Airways have maintained a vital air link between London and India throughout the pandemic, sending aid on scheduled flights, this air lift is a special charter, fully funded by the two companies.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chief Executive and CEO, said: “The British Airways family has been deeply affected by the terrible scenes in India of the deepening humanitarian crisis that has impacted the lives of many of our people. We are fortunate to be in a position to help transport aid and I am so proud of the volunteers from across the airline and IAG Cargo who have stepped up to make this happen. We continue to stand with our friends in India as the country endures one of the worst crises it has ever known.”

British Airways works in partnership with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is organising the UK’s humanitarian response. Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said: “The DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to respond quickly and effectively to disasters, with the fantastic support of partners in the corporate sector, including British Airways. We are hugely grateful to British Airways for springing into action to support our emergency appeals, enabling us to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people in India and elsewhere across the world when disaster strikes."

Captain Minesh Patel, a member of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple, has been instrumental in helping to organise the flight and is commanding the relief service. He said: “It seemed natural to connect British Airways with the wealth of aid and relief material amassed by BAPS in the UK to enable the medical supplies to reach the organisation’s volunteers in India who can provide relief, medical and social aid to the victims in the worst affected regions."

Kamlesh Patel, a spokesperson for Neasden Temple said:

“We are extremely grateful to our friends at British Airways for organising this relief flight to India. Through the fundraising efforts at Neasden Temple we will be sending essential medical supplies on this consignment, including 50 oxygen concentrators. Our deepest gratitude goes to all those who have contributed to this relief effort and we continue to pray for our friends and families in India during this challenging time.”

The airline’s people have also raised several thousand pounds for the DEC’s appeal through internal online donations.

About the DEC Appeal

In India a second wave of coronavirus is having a devastating impact. With India’s health system struggling to cope, with hospitals overrun and oxygen supplies falling short of demand, thousands of people are not able to receive potentially life-saving treatment. Several cities have imposed lockdowns and curfews, which have a knock-on effect for people’s livelihoods, with the poorest and most marginalised communities being hit hardest. 

DEC member charities have a long history of working with the most vulnerable communities in India and, together with their local teams and partners, they are playing a critical role in supporting the country’s health services, assisting efforts to slow the spread of the virus, and providing further help/assistance to the most vulnerable households. 

DEC-funded aid delivery will include medical supplies, treatment facilities and logistics assistance to support India’s health system, as well as helping vulnerable families protect themselves from the virus with water, soap, handwashing stations and information.

To donate via the DEC appeal:

Phone: 0370 60 60 900

SMS: Text SUPPORT to 70150 to donate £10

Post: Send a cheque to DEC Coronavirus Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA

All images - British Airways

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