Volga-Dnepr and GEODIS in major medical aid operation

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Volga-Dnepr Airlines and GEODIS recently undertook a large charter programme to deliver urgent supplies of facemasks and PPE to France.

To do so, the companies had to operate a series of 48 Antonov 124 flights within a 90 day period between April and June.

The French Ministry of Solidarity and Health contracted GEODIS to perform the vital deliveries of medical equipment as part of the Government’s Pont Aerien Francais (French Air Bridge), ensuring that the French state received necessary PPE supplies to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

Volga-Dnepr Airlines was chosen by GEODIS to support a reliable and efficient air-bridge linking Shenzhen, China and Paris-Vatry airport utilising a fleet of a dozen An-124 freighters. The first Antonov 124 flight landed in Vatry on the March 30, with the last flight touching down three months (and 3,000 tonnes) later.

The unprecedented scale of the airlift was defined by the unique supply challenges posed by COVID-19 to frontline medical staffs, pharmacies and hospitals in France.

The air bridge encountered a number of obstacles, including crew quarantine restrictions, severe congestion at Chinese airport terminals and immense pressure on Chinese export traffic. However, teamwork between Volga-Dnepr Airlines and GEODIS ensured that all challenges were overcome and cargo was delivered exactly on time.

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