Published July 2020
The Solidary Plane is a program of the LATAM Airlines Group, which has been carrying out flights for the last 9 years, making its structure, connectivity, and passenger and cargo transport capacity available to benefit South America. Throughout the year, the Solidary Plane takes off once and again to meet health needs in the region every week, transporting patients who need medical treatment, health professionals, organs, tissues and stem cells, and also supporting the transport of equipment and medical supplies.
The LATAM team is very proud of this initiative because it has maintained a strong commitment to its mission during these difficult times: being an air bridge that eliminates barriers such as distance and geography to assist in health needs in South America every day.
Its activation is a huge responsibility because each takeoff is a hope for a person and their family, even for entire communities. Francisca Arias, Head of Sustainability, describes it: “They could be waiting to get a second chance at life through receiving an organ or stem cells, maybe they are going to receive treatment to continue fighting a disease, or they need medical supplies, like a wheelchair. There are so many scenarios where the Solidary Plane can be a contribution to transforming people’s health positively,” she says.
The Solidary Plane program is currently active in six countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. It performs four fundamental actions in these countries:
In 2019, nearly 4,000 people were transported, including medical professionals and patients. During these COVID-19 times, we have carried more than 400 professionals and 300 vulnerable people. We transported passengers to receive treatment so they can go back home or for urgent health needs. “If a person with a disease living in Brazil needs to travel to the US, or a patient from Colombia must take a national or international flight for treatment, they can do it for free,” says Francisca.
Another way to contribute to people’s well-being is by bringing health specialists closer to the communities. The Solidary Plane flies to facilitate the doctors’ work by taking them to islands and places of difficult access so that they can assist vulnerable areas. It also provides help to take specialists to sanitary emergency areas.
Some people cannot wait, such as those who urgently need an organ, tissue, or stem cells to continue fighting a disease. In these cases, LATAM transports this second chance of life on its passenger and cargo planes, even from other continents, as it has happened in cases of stem cell transport. We will soon cover this and other topics in specific and exclusive articles.
“We do everything we can to be an air bridge that supports health in South America. That is why the Solidary Plane flies with the equipment that the specialists require to serve vulnerable populations. We also fly to get critical supplies, as it has happened during the pandemic. The Solidary Plane carries cargo that benefits the countries in the region directly,” says Francisca. Transporting freight, health professionals, and patients has always been of utmost relevance, but it has played an even more important role during the health emergency. Since the program began, the Solidary Plane flights have mobilized more than 400 health professionals and more than 680 tons of medical supplies.
The Solidary Plane continues making history through the skies of South America!