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India’s COVID-19 wave in Spring of 2021 was ferocious in its spread and left many hospitals, clinics, and health facilities without a stable oxygen supply. The international community stepped into help, including generous support from Canada. Our customer was asked by the government to procure & send oxygen supply equipment and concentrators to India.

Priority Worldwide has a long history of co-operating with the international NGO’s and governments on international missions and we were tasked to organize an urgent charter flight to fly the equipment directly from Vancouver, BC to India. The challenge in this mission was due to the oversized nature of the oxygen supply equipment and the fact that the equipment was engineered into 20foot shipping containers.

Priority’s Emergency Response team and offices in Canada and Dubai worked closely with the manufacturer of the systems and the customer to ensure that all the necessary parts for the oxygen system found their way to Canada in time to fit the containers. This involved helping the manufacturer to source and ship compressors from Europe to Vancouver in time for the final build out.

The aircraft chosen for the operation was an IL76-TD-90 aircraft with modified aircraft engines meeting the strict noise abatement requirements in Canada. This aircraft type can load multiple 20foot containers via its specialized ramp cargo door & onboard crane system. Priority’s charter team has significant experience in operations with this aircraft type. The aircraft was successfully loaded using flat-bed trailers which accessed the ramp at Vancouver airport to perform a direct onload procedure. In addition to the two 20foot oxygen containers, the flight also contained additional compressor parts and oxygen concentrator pallets.

The long flight to India overflew Alaska, Europe, and Russia before arriving to India. To be able to maximize the efficiency of the charter flight and because of the urgency of the cargo, Priority Worldwide worked with the airline company to schedule a double drop landing in both Delhi and Guwahti international airports, where the vital cargo was received by the local Red Cross societies.