A cargo plane carrying several tons of urgent medical supplies from China, including vital respirators and facemasks, landed at Pardubice airport in the Czech Republic on the evening of March 30 to help combat the coronavirus. This was the third such transport flight to the Czech Republic in March under the NATO-supported Strategic Airlift International Solution - or SALIS - which provides NATO countries participating in the programme with access to transport aircraft. The Czech Government had tasked the mission. As on previous flights, special procedures were in place to ensure the safety of the aircrew, with no direct contact with ground crews allowed.
I am proud to see NATO Allies supporting each other through our disaster relief centre
On April 1, a Turkish Air Force A-400M cargo plane carrying medical supplies donated by Turkey reached Spain and Italy as part of Allied efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aircraft landed first at Torrejón Air Base for further distribution of the supplies by the Spanish authorities.
A Czech airman in front of a SALIS An-124 cargo plane at Pardubice Airport. Photo courtesy Czech Army
A further delivery of medical supplies from Turkey reached Pratica di Mare Air Base in Italy later that day. The medical supplies donated by Turkey to Spain and Italy consist of personal protection equipment and disinfectants, including 450,000 masks. They were sent in crates displaying - in Italian, Spanish and Turkish - the words of 13th century poet Jalaluddin Rumi: "There is hope after despair and many suns after darkness."
"I am proud to see NATO Allies supporting each other through our disaster relief centre," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he welcomed this example of NATO solidarity in action.
LtThe Turkish Air Force A400M at Torrejon Air Base, Spain, waiting to unload its freight donated by the Turkey to help fight COVID-19 in Spain, and subsequently, Italy. Photo courtesy Spanish Air Force
Italy and Spain requested assistance via NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). The EADRCC is NATO's principal disaster response mechanism.
Many of NATO's air forces are presently using their capacities to support their home nations in combating the COVID-19 pandemic; at the same time there is an Allied dimension to this effort as air forces are joining up their airlift capabilities to bring critical supplies to where they are most needed.
Read more about this cooperation https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/174592.htm