Two Airbus test aircraft, an A380 and an A340-300 have been deployed to help transport essential relief effort cargo to China’s South Western region following the devastating earthquake near Chengdu, in China’s Sichuan province on 12th May 2008.
The two aircraft will carry over 2,000 tents between them to help shelter the thousands of people left homeless. The relief operation was set up by Airbus, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in Paris and is undertaken in close cooperation with Air France Cargo, Air China and Aéroports de Paris. The A380 and A340 will be operated by Airbus crews. Around 1,100 tents are supplied by the Chinese Embassy with the remaining tents being provided by the Association Franco-Chinoise d’Echanges Economiques et Culturels as a result of individual donations.
The aircraft will first fly from Toulouse to Paris CDG airport, where Air France Cargo will load the containerised cargo. The A380 will depart for Chengdu on Friday, 30th May in the afternoon, and the A340 at dawn on Saturday. Both aircraft are scheduled to arrive and leave again on Saturday, 31st May.
Airbus employees from throughout the world are contributing to the relief effort. Airbus China and its partner China Aviation Supplies Holding Company donated ten emergency mobile stretcher units for transport aircraft to Chinese life saving teams. Airbus also chartered five train carriages to help deliver 1,000 tonnes of packaged milk donated by a Beijing based dairy company. Furthermore, Airbus donated RMB five Million in cash to help in the relief efforts through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. And once the rescue efforts are over, Airbus will also be looking at projects to support the rebuilding phase.
Today’s flights are part of a series of relief actions the EADS group has undertaken and started through its various divisions, in particular the donation from Airbus, but also providing Infoterra satellite imagery of the affected areas with Astrium, organising and coordinating the work of ten Eurocopter helicopters for relief operations from Guaghan airport, and sending an important quantity of tents for the refugees in Sichuan with EADS/DS.