August 18, 2021: Last week, two relief planes took off from Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ) to Windhoek, Namibia. The Antonov 124 aircraft by Volga-Dnepr carried urgently needed medical supplies, including masks and ventilators, for this South African country that has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, Volga-Dnepr Group and Leipzig/Halle Airport have inked the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the aim to strengthen humanitarian hub at LEJ.

So far, the German government has supplied more than 600 pallets of relief cargo, which has been flown to the area by Volga-Dnepr Airlines. The AN-124 was loaded by PortGround, a subsidiary of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG specialising in cargo and ramp handling. The operation was commissioned by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

“Not only do these flights demonstrate our commitment toward humanitarian sector but also come as a logical step for further development of long-lasting strategic cooperation between LEJ and Volga-Dnepr Group,” emphasised Yulia Celetaria, the global healthcare director for the Volga-Dnepr Group. “Our recent flights to Namibia, organised in cooperation with our customer Maersk, is one of the roadmap’s steps.”

As part of the rescEU programme, also initiated by ECHO, there are plans to establish a new civil protection logistics centre at Leipzig/Halle Airport. The German Red Cross (DRK) will be setting up the site not far from the airport. The two partners also cooperated closely together on the flights’ preparation, enabling the action to pass off smoothly and rapidly.

Alongside its regular passenger and freight traffic, Leipzig/Halle Airport also serves as a hub for medical relief supplies and protective equipment. In the first half of 2021, for example, in addition to regular air traffic, some 70 cargo charter flights were already handled, carrying millions of Covid-19 tests and PPE.

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