Six months after Argentina banned international and domestic flights, Aerolíneas Argentinas resumed some of its flights. The country’s flag carrier announced six humanitarian flights to China throughout November 2020.
The first of six flights took off from Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires (EZE) to Guangzhou China on November 2, 2020. The rest are scheduled for November 5, 9, 12, 16, and 20.
On the way to China the Airbus A330 makes a stopover in Madrid, Spain, and on the way back – in Auckland, New Zealand. The whole route covers a total of 40,074 kilometers.
The mission is aimed at bringing vital medical supplies from China to help Argentina in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As of November 5, 2020, Argentina has over 1.21 million COVID-19 cases and has registered 32,520 deaths. The country is in the top 10 worldwide of COVID-19 numbers.
“This operation will allow us to carry over 24 tons of cargo in each of the 6 flights that the company has scheduled for November and which will be carried out with A330 aircraft retrofitted as freighters especially for the operation to China”, the carrier announced in a statement.
It is not the first time Aerolíneas fly to China for medical supplies. For the first time in 70 years, Aerolíneas Argentinas flew to China on April 15, 2020. Between April and July 2020, the company completed 35 flights to Shanghai, bringing a total of 887 tons of supplies.
For the first flights, in order to transport the supplies in the passenger cabin, the company manufactured its own cargo net. Later on, some seat rows were removed from the aircraft to increase the cargo capacity.
Loads included surgical masks, gloves, face masks, biosafety suits, components to manufacture fast reagents, ventilators, and other health supplies. They were acquired by the Argentine Ministry of Health, the Governments of the Province of Buenos Aires and the Province of Santa Fe, and the Argentine Red Cross.
Aerolíneas Argentinas had to deal with harsh travel restrictions, most of their commercial flights were frozen until the end of October 2020. The company plans to resume 650 domestic and international flights in November 2020.