The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) air transport fleet is actively helping the country in fighting a battle against COVID-19 pandemic.
At the moment, the world is faced with another crisis of alarming proportions — the COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus — that has wreaked havoc in Europe and the US, killing over 180,000 people so far.
A crisis that first broke out in China’s city Wuhan in December last year has now got a foothold in Pakistan, and many citizens have been affected by the pandemic. Even when the coronavirus struck China, the Pakistan Air Force, quite daringly, provided the Chinese with all imaginable assistance, with their first flight reaching Urumqi on 1st February 2020. A 16-member crew aboard the IL-78 aircraft provided China with seven tonnes of important items, including medicines.
The force’s next target — which was even more challenging — was to provide 17 tonnes of supplies, including food items, to the Pakistani students stuck in the virus’s epicenter Wuhan. The same aircraft returned to Pakistan with 1,000 corona test kits, 10 ventilators, and other medical equipment, including facemasks, gifted by China.
On 28th March 2020, the PAF’s IL-78 once again landed in China, with the latter gifting Pakistan’s healthcare personnel another massive assistance which included 20,000 N-95 masks, 0.3 million medical facemasks, 10 ICU ventilators and five portable ventilators. Both friendly nations are still exchanging their expertise in various fields and helping their respective citizens in this hour of immense grief and predicament. In addition, on the request of PAF’s CEO Air Marshal Arshad Malik, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan NI (M), provided a C-130 transport plane to carry PIA pilots who volunteered to fly sorties bringing back stranded Pakistanis from abroad due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Medical help for Balochistan
On April 6, 2020, a PAF C-130 aircraft carrying medical equipment and relief goods for the people of Balochistan landed at the PAF Base, Samungli (Quetta). The No. 6 Squadron C-130 took off from the PAF Base Nur Khan early in the morning for the relief mission. The aircraft airlifted approximately 11,000 pounds of medical equipment, including N95 masks, protective gear, gloves, face masks, testing kits and medicines, in the sortie.
Reaching out to Zaireen
On April 4, 2020, on the instructions of the Government of Pakistan, the PAF is undertaking relief operations in the fight against COVID-19. In this regard, a PAF C-130 aircraft carrying Zaireen from Dalbandin landed at Skardu.
The Zaireen were kept in the makeshift arrangements at Taftan, the bordering town between Pakistan and Iran. They acknowledged the concerted efforts of the government for giving best possible facilities at such a far-off place. They also thanked the PAF for arranging this special sortie for the people of Gilgit- Baltistan.
The PAF’s Air Transport fleet is actively involved in carrying out relief efforts in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and has airlifted tons of relief goods and medical equipment from the neighbouring country, China.
Medical equipment from China
The Air Transport fleet of the PAF has been assigned the onerous responsibility to airlift medical equipment and relief goods from Peoples Republic of China to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan.
In this regard, a PAF IL- 78 aircraft laden with 14 tons of cargo comprising ventilators, N95 masks and protective gear landed at the PAF Base Nur Khan. This is one of the many relief flights undertaken by the PAF in past couple of months. These sorties also included the ones flown to COVID-hit Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this year. During these relief sorties, tons of medical supplies were airlifted by PAF aircraft.