British Airways is increasing the frequency of its cargo flights from China to import more supplies for UK healthcare workers.
The airline announced that from next month it will operate 21 flights per week from Shanghai or Beijing to London, up from the current level of 13.
These flights from Shanghai and Beijing will be able to carry up to 770 tonnes of cargo for the NHS each week, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. They will also carry private cargo.
British Airways is operating the flights in partnership with its sister company, IAG Cargo, and the Government.
Its first cargo-only flight from China to London during the coronavirus pandemic was on April 9.
Last week it began carrying cargo in the cabin – as well as the hold – for the first time.
The British embassy in China is working with the Department of Health to procure medical equipment from China and deliver it to NHS hospitals.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “These flights will help us deliver essential equipment to the NHS and for others who are working on the front line.
“Coronavirus is a global challenge and we are focused on working with our international partners to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.”
British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz said: “As an airline we are in a unique position to help in the global response to Covid-19, whether it is through carrying UK residents back home, transporting vital cargo back to the NHS, or through our colleagues who are offering their skills to volunteer.
“We’re proud to be playing our part, and I’m grateful to everyone who is working to make these flights happen in these difficult times.”