A B767-300 aircraft has arrived at Cardiff Airport carrying over 200,000 items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for front line teams in the NHS and social care in Wales.
The Cardiff Airport airfield has remained open on a 24hr basis throughout the crisis, and the arrival of this flight has reaffirmed the vital role of the Airport in supporting the national response to the current global pandemic.
The special charter flight, operated by Nordwind took off from Phnom Penh in Cambodia and landed at Wales’ National Airport at 15:22, local time. On board was 11 tonnes of freight, which included 200,000 items of PPE, primarily fluid resistant gowns destined for front line teams working across Wales.
On arrival, the supplies were unloaded and transported from Cardiff Airport to NHS Wales with the support of South Wales Police and the Ministry of Defence.
Deb Bowen Rees, CEO at Cardiff Airport commented:
“We are extremely proud to be supporting the national effort during these extraordinary times. I am really pleased to see such a great approach from all partners, working together to support the NHS and care teams in Wales whilst ensuring our absolute focus on safety and security.
“Cardiff Airport’s airfield has remained open throughout the lockdown period as it is vital, as part of Wales strategic transport infrastructure, that we are always in a position to support essential flying, such as this vital delivery for our NHS.
“Being open and able to accept direct, long haul flights means critical supplies are able to be flown into Wales and then shipped directly to front line teams as quickly as possible.
“We remain ready to support any other flying which Wales and the UK needs over the coming weeks and months and look forward to the return of commercial flights and our customers as soon as this lockdown period is over.”
First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:
“I would like to thank Cardiff Airport, the military and the police for their support with this shipment of PPE, which will help to protect our frontline health and care staff.”
Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates, said:
“Cardiff Airport is strategically important to Wales and the Welsh economy – it’s great to see it playing such an important role in maintaining vital supplies of PPE to our frontline health and social care workers.”
At Cardiff Airport, the flight was handled by ground handling agents, Swissport.
A Swissport spokesperson said: “Swissport has been helping with the arrival of vital cargo deliveries carrying essential medical supplies for the NHS. We are pleased to be supporting Cardiff Airport and the Welsh Government by doing our bit and providing essential front line services in response to this global pandemic.”
In recent weeks Cardiff Airport has worked with airline partners to facilitate a number of medical flights around the UK.
Currently British Airways has made use of the Cardiff Airport airfield and its BA Maintenance Centre to park 14 aircraft while commercial flights are grounded.