THE IRISH Aviation Authority (IAA) has shared a heartwarming audio recording of the message issued to the first Aer Lingus cargo plane flight headed to China to collect essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use in the fight against coronavirus.
The first of ten flights bound for Beijing departed from Dublin airport this past Saturday.
It is due to arrive back in the Irish capital this Sunday following an exhausting round trip in which the pilots were required to remain on the plane throughout.
Under current Chinese law, any disembarkation from the aircraft would have resulted in a two-week quarantine for those involved.
A further nine trips will be undertaken over the next few days, until April 1.
Just before taking off from Dublin Airport, however, pilots aboard the first plane, Aer Lingus flight EI9018 received a much-welcome message of thanks and support from staff at the airport.
An audio recording of the exchange was shared on social media, and makes for wonderful listening.
The IAA toldthe pilot before take-off: “EI9018 we would like to wish you and all the crew a safe and successful flight and also say a big thank you for all your efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, from everyone in the IAA.”
They then added: “Bíodh turas sabhailte agat”
“We’re quite happy to be able to do it," the crew replied before setting off on their epic journey.
You can listen to the audio below:
1/2: EI9018 we would like to wish you and all the crew a safe and successful flight and also say a big thank you for all your efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, from everyone in the IAA - Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat agus Slan abhaile https://t.co/dIe5Y0dYUH pic.twitter.com/v0vGYQ00eJ
— IAA (@IAApress) March 28, 2020
A crucial operation that could save countless lives, Anne O’Connor, HSE’s Chief Operations Officer, has explained how these trips will ensure healthcare staff across Ireland working on the frontline of Covid-19 will be protected.
“We have already, since the first of February, brought in €30 million worth of PPE, there is another €30 million starting to arrive on Sunday,” she said.
“The best part of that will see 10 flights between Sunday and Wednesday coming into Ireland so the shipment overall will see 300 flights coming in.
“So it is a very, very significant supply chain that we have secured and we would see that we would have PPE over the coming weeks and months throughout all services.”