WORLDWIDE Flight Services is expediting the handling of time-sensitive materials destined for hospitals and medical centres in Italy.

In recent days, this included handling cargo onboard special China Eastern Airways charter flights from Shanghai to Milan carrying 20 tonnes of medical equipment and supplies as well as a team of doctors to help deal with the crisis, which has already claimed the lives of more than 3400 people in Italy.

Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Paris, WFS claims to be the world’s largest air cargo handler. Its 27,000 employees serve more than 270 airlines at 198 major airports in 22 countries.

The WFS team ensured the medical cargo was immediately processed and cleared so it could be despatched to hospitals in Milan, Venice, Padoa and Siena. WFS expects to handle more charters into Italy in the coming days and weeks as it continues to give its full support to the relief effort taking place across the country.

Organised by the Chinese Government, the flights also repatriated 187 Chinese citizens from Italy to Wenzhu in southern Zhejiang Province.

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Massimiliano Introini, managing director of WFS in Italy, said, “Cargo handling specialists at airports around the world are playing a vital role in helping governments and the healthcare sector deal with the urgent medical response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“In Milan, we were able to ensure that by 20.00hrs on the day medical supplies had arrived, they were delivered to Protezione Civile, Italy’s emergency agency, to be distributed to various hospitals.

“We are ready to support more such flights to ensure life-saving equipment reaches patients as quickly as possible. This is one of the ultimate examples of the important role the airline and cargo handling industries play at times of national and international crisis. We must ensure these vital supply lines remain open,” he said.

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