An Aer Lingus cargo flight has taken off this morning from Dublin set for Beijing. The return flight tomorrow is expected to bring with it over €20million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE), due to be used by healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19.
Flight E19018 left Dublin under the command of Captani Pat O'Driscoll this morning at 10.53am and is due to arrive in Beijing just after 8pm Irish time.
The first Aer Lingus cargo flight to Beijing is in the air.
EI9018, have a safe journey!😊 pic.twitter.com/cBu5eWvv06
— Chinese Embassy in Ireland (@ChinaEmbIreland) March 28, 2020
The gravity of the situation, the importance of the journey, and the perceived danger of entering China, the birthplace of the coronavirus, was summed up by the Irish Aviation Authority passing on their thanks and best wishes to the captain and crew on their departure.
You can follow along the progress of the flight here.
It's the first of at ten cargo flights that will go to Beijing between now and the 1st April to ensure there won't be a shortage of PPE for the healthcare workers fighting the spread of the virus. Minsister for Health Simon Harris told RTE's Morning Ireland today that Ireland would be buying €225million on PPE this year, whereas usually it would be just €15million.
PPE includes face masks, gowns, goggles, shields and lots more essential equipment to protect those working in hospitals and elsewhere from becoming infected themselves.
Good luck to the many Aer Lingus crews that will shuttle the planes over the next few days.
**UPDATE 3.46pm 29th March**
The first of 10 cargo planes bringing vital PPE from China has landed in Dublin Airport. Well done and thank you to an incredible crew!! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/lnT2Okj5VO
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) March 29, 2020