Air cargo lends logistics aid amid Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

As China and governments worldwide work to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak, air cargo actors, such as FedEx, Kalitta Air, March Air Reserve Base (RIV) and Ontario Airport (ONT), are lending a hand to support of the logistics needed to make this work possible.

FedEx provided support early this week, transporting urgently needed medical supplies destined for Wuhan by working with related organizations, partners and customers.

FedEx has supported the shipment of at least two batches of medical equipment thus far. Since Jan. 25, FedEx has been assisting U.S. medical device company Medtronic to provide China’s medical organizations with shipments of equipment to locations from its warehouse in Shanghai. On Jan. 26 and 27, FedEx transported its first batch of medical supplies from the U.S. and Japan for customers to its Asia Pacific Hub at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN). With the support of CAN customs, FedEx quickly completed clearance shipments to pass them on to China Post, which donated its transportation and delivery services of epidemic prevention supplies to the organizations in Wuhan area designated by the local government. China Post completed delivery of the shipments to Wuhan on Jan. 27.

The medical supplies in the initial FedEx shipments included Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenators (ECMO), medical ventilators, patient monitors, N95 masks, medical gloves, plastic goggles, disinfectant wipes and antibiotic.

FedEx Express said it will also ship more than 200,000 surgical masks and personal protective equipment, such as gowns and gloves, from the U.S. to CAN to assist the humanitarian work of Direct Relief. FedEx will continue working closely with China Post, which is coordinating the movement of the supplies from Guangzhou into Wuhan, in order to deliver the relief as quickly as possible.

Ontario International Airport CEO Mark Thorpe told Air Cargo World on Jan. 28 that ONT had been designated as the site for and was preparing to receive U.S. repatriates the government was working to evacuate from Wuhan.

However, as occurs in emergencies, plans swiftly changed, with the U.S. government deciding to instead enter U.S. repatriates into the country through Riverside’s March Air Reserve Base (RIV). ONT congratulated RIV on its efforts and thanked its federal, state and local partners as well as the surrounding community for its support and understanding as the sensitive operation unfolded late last night.

Kalitta Air, too, participated in the evacuation of U.S. citizens from Wuhan, and yesterday aided in the effort transporting the repatriates onboard one of its 747 aircraft. The flight left Wuhan (WUH) on Jan. 28 before arriving at RIV the following day via Anchorage (ANC).

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