oneworld airlines assist governments and stakeholders in global fight against COVID-19

15 April 2020

oneworld member carriers are playing a part in the global efforts to mitigate COVID-19, may it be helping to transport crucial medical supplies, reuniting passengers with their loved ones or contributing to organisations that provide aid to COVID-19 patients.

Ferrying essential medical supplies

Airlines are using their passenger aircraft as freighters to ferry vital medical supplies globally, alongside traditional cargo hold capacity in the belly of aircraft.

American Airlines began its first cargo-only service since 1984 in March 2020, and has increased its weekly cargo capacity to 5,5 million pounds. It is flying medical supplies including personal protective equipment and pharmaceuticals, as well as other essential goods, between the US and Asia, Europe and Latin America.

British Airways has operated several flights to transport medical supplies and equipment, including ventilators and hand sanitiser, to the UK from China. The flights were operated in partnership with the UK Government and IAG Cargo.

Finnair is deploying its Airbus A350 aircraft on flights to Asia including Tokyo and Shanghai, carrying medical supplies as well as other essential goods to Finland and Estonia.

Iberia is operating flights to Shanghai, in a partnership with the public and private sectors, to pick up medical supplies and equipment home for Spanish hospitals.

Qatar Airways Cargo has boosted flights globally, and transported more than 50 million kg of medical supplies – the equivalent of 500 fully loaded Boeing 777 freighters –  in the past month to several regions. The airline added cargo capacity to cities including Melbourne, Paris and Shanghai, working together with governments to support their humanitarian efforts.

In March, SriLankan Airlines flew medical supplies from Shanghai to Colombo, in an effort coordinated by the Sri Lankan embassy in China. The supplies including personal protective equipment and medical devices were ferried to Sri Lankan health authorities to be used at state hospitals.

Reuniting passengers with families and loved ones

oneworld member carriers are continuing to operate flights to repatriate passengers from all over the world, lending a hand in reuniting people with their families and loved ones back home.

American Airlines has operated several flights, repatriating customers from Latin America and the Caribbean and working with the US State Department to help US citizens return home.

Iberia has operated dozens of repatriation flights to and from countries including Argentina, Japan, Morocco and Peru, supporting Spain’s Foreign Ministry to help more than 6.000 people return home.

Malaysia Airlines is repatriating passengers from all over the world, including Malaysians and foreigners. It recently operated several flights to Egypt, Indonesia and New Zealand.

Qatar Airways expanded flights to Australia to help get passengers home, with the support of the Australian Government and airports. The flights include service to Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

Helping organisations fight against COVID-19

oneworld carriers are donating food and essential supplies to organisations in the frontline fight against COVID-19, and assisting in fundraising and first responder efforts.

American Airlines raised more than $2 million for the American Red Cross – crucial funds that will help the Red Cross provide a supply of blood to patients in need as well as other critical services. American also donated 81.000 pounds of food to food banks across the US, and contributed amenity kits and pandemic kits to hospitals and institutes.

British Airways employees have volunteered their first aid qualifications and other essential skills to organisations including the National Health Service, contributing to the frontline response to COVID-19 in the UK.

Iberia has donated tens of thousands of duvets, pillows and toiletry kits to a temporary hospital being set up in a Madrid convention centre, and has contributed thousands of medical gowns from its own medical service unit to a Madrid hospital. The airline has also loaned its airport equipment to assist in the moving and installation of medical equipment at a temporary hospital in Barcelona.