Volga-Dnepr Airline and Geodis completed of 48 Antonov AN-124 charter flights within a 90-day period, delivering facemasks and personal protective equipment from Shenzhen to France.

The French Ministry of Solidarity and Health contracted Geodis to carry out the deliveries in support of the government’s Pont Aerien Francais (French air bridge) programme. Volga-Dnepr supplied 12 AN-124 freighters.

Over the course of 90 days between April and June 2020, 3,000 tonnes of medical equipment was delivered to Paris Vatry airport in the fight against Covid-.19

Volga-Dnepr and Geodis said they encountered a number of challenges during the project including crew quarantine restrictions, severe congestion at Chinese airport terminals, and immense pressure on Chinese export traffic. Despite this, the cargo was delivered on time, said the companies.

Upon arrival at the French airport, the supplies were transported under police escort to six forward warehouses in France, destined for delivery to medical facilities and practitioners.

Stuart Smith, global director humanitarian at Volga-Dnepr, who oversaw the programme, said: “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 cooperation between Geodis, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Vatry airport and Shenzhen airport.”