Published July 2020
At a time when everything stops, the Solidary Plane flight becomes more relevant than ever, and its commitment is restated daily through its actions in all its operations: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina.
During this period, the Solidary Plane has transported more than 400 health professionals throughout the region to meet the urgent needs of the COVID-19 sanitary emergency. It has also mobilized more than 300 people with a variety of medical needs or surgeries that need immediate care, and it has carried primary cargo to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.
“Due to the pandemic, the Program has had an unprecedented performance rate this year. It is the first time in its 9-year history that the Solidary Plane carries so much cargo in such a limited time”, says the Head of Corporate Affairs at LATAM Cargo, María Teresa Escobar.
The planes for the exclusive cargo transport of the LATAM Airlines Group maintain freedom of international traffic, due to the fundamental role they play in the countries’ supply chain.
In this context, the planes used by the cargo transport unit, LATAM Cargo, are the means of transportation to maintain the commitment of the Solidary Plane at an international level. It is especially true in cases as sensitive as the transport of organs, tissues, or stem cells for the people who urgently need a second chance at life.
LATAM Cargo has transported more than 680 tons of cargo from different parts of the world, to and within South America. It has included mainly medical supplies such as face masks, COVID-19 tests, gloves, ventilators, among many other items with high demand worldwide.
María Teresa also highlights the role that the Solidary Plane plays in locations with difficult access: “The Solidary Plane acquires special relevance in places where an airplane is the only access route, or the fastest one. Speed can make a big difference in the lives of people and communities. For example, we flew for a child from the Galapagos Islands who needed to receive his wheelchair, an essential tool for his daily life, and he could obtain it quickly thanks to the Solidary Plane.
"It has transported donations to blood banks from hospitals in isolated areas, because the patients’ recovery may be at risk if the banks run out of the blood. It has also transported food to isolated places whose usual supply chain has been affected due to confinement measures, among other examples”, she states.
Another milestone during the pandemic is that LATAM decided to operate flights to China in search of medical supplies for the first time. This route has become part of the Solidary Plane, and it has allowed the transport of COVID 19 detection tests, different elements of personal protection, and ventilators, among other products, from Asia to South America.
Thanks to the Solidary Plane, the LATAM Group can be a contribution to improve the health situation during the health crisis caused by COVID-19. However, its commitment to health transcends this pandemic: “The Solidary Plane has been collaborating for 9 years as an air bridge for the health and well-being of South America. After overcoming this pandemic, it will continue taking off to contribute to health issues whenever the countries of the region need it “, emphasizes María Teresa.