Ethiopian Airlines, the Pan-African carrier, has delivered medical supplies donated by Jack Ma, the founder of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, to 39 African countries within five days.
Ethiopian Airlines transported Jack Ma’s support including Covid-19 testing kits, masks and protective suits.
Following its historical track record of serving Africa in both good and bad times, Ethiopia has again demonstrated a great gesture of solidarity to the African people.
Launched by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Alibaba Foundation, the relief initiative is part of the actions taken towards implementing Africa’s continental strategy for preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Regarding the delivery of medical supplies, Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, remarked “We would like to thank our Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Jack Ma for giving us the opportunity to serve the people of Africa in this globally challenging time…In most of these African airports, Ethiopian Cargo airplanes are the only ones delivering these life-saving emergency medical supplies.’’
The delivery has so far exceeded the half way mark with more distribution plans to be continued in the coming days.
Meanwhile, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the European Commission’s (EC) Guidelines on Facilitating Air Cargo Operations During Covid-19 Outbreak.
IATA noted that ensuring smooth air cargo shipments is crucial. With the evaporation of passenger demand and cancellation of passenger flights, vital air cargo capacity has disappeared. Airlines are taking all measures to meet the remaining cargo demand.
Unfortunately, IATA is concerned that airlines face bottlenecks in getting appropriate permissions and crewing cargo flights amid quarantine restrictions. The result, said IATA, was delays to shipments when time is of the essence to fight the Covid-19 outbreak and keep global supply chains functioning.
According to IATA the EC has understood the industry’s challenges and provided comprehensive and practical guidance to ensure that permissions to operate are quickly granted and that air crew are able to operate efficiently with exemptions from quarantine measures.
“We are in an emergency and the European Commission has responded with speed and clarity. EU member states need to act quickly to ensure that the guidance is followed so that air cargo—including vital shipments of medicines and medical equipment—gets to where it needs to be. Other governments should follow the EC’s example and implement similar measures so that we can unblock the global air cargo networks on which we all depend,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.