Emirates airline announced Sunday that it has set up a humanitarian airbridge between Dubai and India to transport urgent medical and relief items, to support India in its fight to control its COVID-19 crisis.
Starting this week, Emirates will offer cargo capacity free of charge on an “as available” basis on all of its flights to nine cities in India. The first flight under the new “airbridge” is scheduled to depart for New Delhi on May 13 carrying 12.6 tons of multi-purpose tents from the World Health Organization.
“India and Emirates are deeply connected, since our first flights to India in 1985,” Emirates’ Chairman and Chief Executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement. “We stand with the Indian people and will do all we can to help India get back on its feet.”
“Emirates has a lot of experience in humanitarian relief efforts, and with 95 weekly flights to nine destinations in India, we will be offering regular and reliable widebody capacity for relief materials,” Al Maktoum added. “The International Humanitarian City in Dubai is the largest crisis relief hub in the world and we will work closely with them to facilitate the movement of urgent medical supplies.”
The announcement arrives amid a devastating surge in COVID-19 in India. Last week, the first of several emergency relief shipments from the United States arrived in India, as the Biden administration sent more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly a million test kits, additional personnel protective equipment, and therapeutics.
According to CNN, India reported 403,738 additional coronavirus cases on Sunday (May 9), marking the fourth consecutive day it has recorded more than 400,000 cases and bringing the country’s total reported infections to more than 22 million.