Coronavirus UK: BA flies 2.5m pieces of PPE from China


Government pays BA to fly to China to bring back 2.5million face masks and gloves – crammed into empty passenger seats – for the UK’s frontline health workers

  • BA was paid by the Government to bring vital PPE to the UK from China
  • Seven pilots and six crew made the trip in a Boeing 777 aircraft in 28 hours 
  • Every seat was filled with a box of protective masks, gloves and overalls 
  • Huge demand for PPE continues as NHS hospital boss asks Burberry and Barbour for help making protective equipment
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

A British Airways crew has flown 2.5 million pieces of PPE equipment back to the UK from China in a 28-hour non-stop mercy mission.

Seven pilots and six crew made the trip to pick up the supplies and bring them back to be used by NHS frontline staff.

Every seat on the Boeing 777 jet was filled with a box of protective masks, gloves and overalls while all the overhead lockers were also packed with supplies including ventilator parts.

BA arranged the flight at the request of the British Government who paid for the flight as the row over poor planning for PPE rumbled on.

Demand for the crucial equipment is so acute that one NHS hospital boss has begged British fashion chains such as Burberry and Barbour to help with the shortage.

The call for PPE is in direct contrast to the statement from Health Secretary Matt Hancock who said there is enough equipment to go around. 

A British Airways crew has flown 2.5 million pieces of PPE equipment back to the UK from China in a 28-hour non-stop mercy mission. First officer Helen Geering, 40, said it was an ‘absolute privilege’ to be able to bring supplies back to the NHS

Seven pilots and six crew made the trip to pick up the supplies and bring them back to be used by NHS frontline staff. In a video posted to social media pilot Andy Goodliffe (above) walked through the packed economy section after ground crew had completed their loading

Seven pilots and six crew made the trip to pick up the supplies and bring them back to be used by NHS frontline staff. In a video posted to social media pilot Andy Goodliffe (above) walked through the packed economy section after ground crew had completed their loading

Every seat on the Boeing 777 jet was filled with a box of protective masks, gloves and overalls while all the overhead lockers were also packed with supplies

Every seat on the Boeing 777 jet was filled with a box of protective masks, gloves and overalls while all the overhead lockers were also packed with supplies

More than two million masks were loaded into the hold of the BA flight from Shangahi to Heathrow and a further 480,000 were strapped into the economy section.

It is the first time the passenger section of a BA jet has ever been used to transport cargo.   

In a video posted to social media, which has been shared thousands of times, pilot Andy Goodliffe walked through the packed economy section after the ground crew had completed their loading.

He said: ‘The whole plane is jammed. 2,000 face masks in each box.’

Opening an overhead locker to show off the load, he added:’ And a thousand in each of these.’ 

First officer Helen Geering, 40, was among those who took part in the 28-hour flight.

She said it was an ‘absolute privilege’ to be able to bring supplies back to the NHS.

Standing in front of seats packed with cardboard boxes she described it as a ‘precious cargo’ that would be given to the people who most need it.

Three pilots flew the jet out to Shanghai on Wednesday while the others rested during the 12-hour flight.

On the return leg the other pilots took over the controls to comply with safety regulations.

Captain Elliot Goodbody flew the final leg of the flight and said he was proud to be part of the British Airways team bringing in 20 tonnes of supplies.

Each of the seats in the economy section of the jet, which can take up to 300 people, had been filled with a box containing masks and other PPE equipment.

BA arranged the flight at the request of the British government as the row over poor planning for PPE rumbled on. Demand for the crucial equipment is so acute that one NHS hospital boss begged British fashion chains such as Burberry and Barbour to help with the shortage

BA arranged the flight at the request of the British government as the row over poor planning for PPE rumbled on. Demand for the crucial equipment is so acute that one NHS hospital boss begged British fashion chains such as Burberry and Barbour to help with the shortage

More than two million masks were loaded into the hold of the BA flight from Shangahi to Heathrow and a further 480,000 were strapped into the economy section

More than two million masks were loaded into the hold of the BA flight from Shangahi to Heathrow and a further 480,000 were strapped into the economy section

It is the first time the passenger section of a BA jet has ever been used to transport cargo

It is the first time the passenger section of a BA jet has ever been used to transport cargo

Three pilots flew the jet out to Shanghai on Wednesday while the other rested during the 12-hour flight. On the return leg the other pilots took over the controls to comply with safety regulations

Three pilots flew the jet out to Shanghai on Wednesday while the other rested during the 12-hour flight. On the return leg the other pilots took over the controls to comply with safety regulations

Ground crews at Shanghai airport in protective clothing loaded the boxes before netting was placed over the top of the seats to keep them secure during the flight.

Plastic sheeting had earlier been placed over the seats to protect them during the flight.

Only the business class section where the crew sat was not full of PPE equipment, which will be distributed to hospitals across the UK. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk