The Rewind

The Aer Lingus Crew On The Insane Scale Of Their Key PPE Flights To Beijing

The Aer Lingus Crew On The Insane Scale Of Their Key PPE Flights To Beijing

The public have rightfully been lauding frontline staff facing the coronavirus head-on.

People have been falling over themselves in order to aid frontline staff, none more so than the Aer Lingus crew and staff flying to China to procure vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.

On The Late Late Show, a number of Aer Lingus staff joined host Miriam O'Callaghan in discussing the logistics of the flights and what exactly went into each journey from Beijing.

Aer Lingus Director of Operations John Kelly expanded on the unique circumstances that surrounded the newly-founded aviation route.

Kelly explains that Aer Lingus usually take around six months before opening a new commercial flight route, from investigating logistics until first flight. In this instance, the turnaround time between contact from the government and the Irish Aviation Authority and the first flight from Dublin to Beijing was just ten days.

There have been 13 successful journeys roundtrips thus far, with a 14th currently flying over Mongolian airspace.

Each journey is an 18,000 roundtrip, with 21 hours airborne. The plane is grounded in Beijing for around four to five hours in order to stock some 16 tonnes of PPE cargo in the aircraft.

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Also, the crew on-board are warned that if they leave the bounds of the aircraft once they land on Chinese soil, they will be automatically quarantined for 14 days due to Chinese restrictions.

A number of the staff echoed the same sentiment that these are unprecedented times, both for Aer Lingus and the country at large.

One thing that strikes you is that a number of the staff have people close to them working on the frontline, and that if their sacrifices aid people on the frontline, then they have no qualms.

One such engineer mentioned that he was on two roundtrips to China in a week. Rather than agree with Miriam's line of questioning about it being tough, he instead just noted that it's merely two days work, that it's nothing on the efforts of those on the frontline fighting the virus head-on.

As they always say, teamwork makes the dream work.

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Sean Meehan

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