Russian freight carrier Volga-Dnepr has completed 48 flights to France within a 90-day period to deliver medical supplies and PPE, operating AN-124-100 aircraft. The charter program initiated by French logistics company Geodis is one of the largest conducted during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The deliveries of medical equipment are part of the French Government’s “Pont Aerien Francais” – French Air Bridge – ensuring that the French authorities received sufficient PPE supplies to fight
the spread of the corona virus. The contract was awarded to Geodis, which commissioned Volga-Dnepr to carry out the transports taking from Shenzhen, China, to Vatry, France.
The first Antonov-124 flight landed in Vatry on the 30th March, with the last flight touching down 3 months and 3,000 tons later.
For the poorly frequented airport in the Champagne region, the numerous cargo flights were a completely new and welcome experience. With a flight landing every 48 hours in Vatry, nearly 400 million face masks were delivered along with surgical gowns and other medical equipment. By the end of the program, the giant airlift capabilities of Volga-Dnepr’s AN124 fleet had transported nearly 30,000 cubic metres of protective medical equipment from Southern China.
Police escort PPE
Right after a freighter had landed, the medical supplies were onforwarded to six warehouses scattered all across France, escorted and supervised by police squads on way to the facilities. From there, they were transported to medical practitioners and medical facilities located in the region.
“We are delighted to be working with a reliable and professional partner such as the Volga-Dnepr Group who, not only offers a large fleet of aircraft but also understands the complexity and criticality of the market situation and has proven its ability to permanently adapt and adjust to the challenges", commented Stanislas Brun, GEODIS’ SVP Global Air Freight. GEODIS has been working with the Volga-Dnepr group for many projects in the past and the airline is now one of GEODIS Air Direct main partners, he added.
Stuart Smith, Global Director Humanitarian, Volga-Dnepr, who oversaw the program concluded that “This was a unique airlift challenge, given its size, frequency and the epidemiological factors that our operating crews and all stakeholders have faced. The fact that we were able to deliver all 48 flights exactly on schedule is testament to the hard-work and huge intra-team co-operation between GEODIS, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Vatry airport and Shenzhen airport. Everyone was truly united in this project.”
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