Last Friday at 18:30 local time, flight EI9023 returned from Beijing, the culmination of Aer Lingus’s Critical Supply Operation on behalf of the Health Service Executive (HSE). In total there were 259 Dublin – Beijing return flights, it was the largest cargo operation by air in the history of the state.
Aer Lingus operated up to 5 flights a day over 14 weeks and in total flew 4.75 million kilometres and transported 35,000 cubic metres or 4,000 tonnes comprising over 86 million pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The project was delivered by Aer Lingus on a cost basis for HSE, with a small contingency for unanticipated costs.
Sean Bresnan, National Director of Procurement, HSE said:
“Today is a hugely significant milestone in terms of our response to the pandemic as we see the last of 259 Aer Lingus flights return from Beijing to Ireland. We opened a daily airbridge between Beijing and Dublin that has been in operation since 29 March. During that period Aer Lingus have operated up to 5 flights per day and delivered to us in excess of 86m pieces of critical PPE.
Aer Lingus has been an integral and key part of a multi-agency effort to secure critical stocks of PPE in a time of unprecedented global shortage. On behalf of all of those in HSE involved in the procurement response; I would like to thank Aer Lingus for the incredible contribution they have made during this very difficult time.”
Donal Moriarty Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Aer Lingus said:
“Over the past 14 weeks there has been a huge team effort across Aer Lingus ensuring the Critical Supply Operation ran smoothly. This was a unique project – something of this scale would normally take months to set up, and it was done in a matter of days.
“This was a multi-agency response with cooperation across HSE, IDA, Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Defence Forces, the Chinese Embassy and the Civil Aviation Administration in China to ensure that vital PPE supplies were delivered to our frontline staff. I would like to commend everyone involved for their contribution in this unique operation and in particular thank the HSE for their strong partnership which ensured its successful delivery.”