Among closed-border policies and a low flight demand caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, LATAM Cargo becomes an ally and supports organ, tissue and stem cell transportation.
LATAM Cargo’s crew played a crucial role in successfully accomplishing this trip, which required the pilots to guard the cells in an unprecedented process during the flight from Viracopos (Campinas, Brazil) to Ezeiza (Buenos Aires).
April 18, 2020, Buenos Aires.- On Friday, April 17, at 8:59 p.m. local time, the crew of a Boeing 767 started an exceptional LATAM Cargo flight from Viracopos International Airport (Brazil) to Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Buenos Aires). This flight had a special mission: to transport cells in the airplane’s cabin. The aircraft arrived at Ezeiza at 11:44 p.m. local time with the cells guarded by part of the crew team and the hope of saving the life of a patient suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome.
Freighter aircraft are currently the only ones enjoying more international freedom of transit due to their relevance to global supply chains. Hence, the “Solidary Plane” program becomes an opportunity to contribute to vital cases like this one.
Therefore, after being contacted by INCUCAI, LATAM Cargo committed to transporting the stem cells. In order to accomplish this, a multidisciplinary team from LATAM Group—composed of more than 30 people—promptly planned the operation and crew training necessary for the transportation and manipulation of the stem cells.
This trip is part of the company’s Solidary Plane program, which has addressed health needs for 9 years in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The program facilitates the transportation of patients that require medical treatment, multidisciplinary health teams, organs, tissues, stem cells and medicine, as well as medical supplies.
“In a pandemic situation, freighter flights become more important than ever, and programs such as the Solidary Plane become hope. We are facing the largest crisis in our history, but we will make every effort possible so one of our flights can provide a person with a life opportunity”, stated Luis Eduardo Melnik, LATAM Cargo’s Captain, who flew the airplane carrying the stem cells.
INCUCAI is an entity that promotes, regulates, coordinates and monitors organ, tissue and cell donation/transplant activity in Argentina. This institution’s Haematopoietic Progenitor Cells area noted that due to COVID-19, each case is being evaluated individually in order to offer each patient the best possible alternative. “This pandemic is challenging all of us and working methods are changing, but, fortunately, we are being successful in providing ill patients with bone marrow transplants from foreign donors. In this case, thanks to a donor from Brazil and LATAM Cargo’s support, a patient from Argentina will be transplanted” they stated.
About LATAM Airlines Group S.A
LATAM Airlines Group is the main airline group in Latin America and one of the largest in the world in connections network, offering air services to 145 destinations in 26 countries. It operates in six Latin American domestic markets: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, in addition to international flights within Latin America and heading to Europe, USA, the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa and Asia.
LATAM Airlines Group employs more than 43 thousand staff members and operates approximately 1.400 daily flights, transporting more than 74 million passengers per year.
With a modern and young fleet, LATAM Airlines Group owns 327 airplanes, among them Boeing 787s, Airbus A350s, A321s and A320s neo, the most modern models in this segment.
LATAM Cargo is the Group’s business unit specialized in air cargo transportation. It transports cargo both in passenger aircraft’s bellies and in its 11 Boeing 767 freighters. LATAM Cargo offers modern infrastructure, a wide range of services and care options to satisfy its clients’ needs.
LATAM Airlines Group is the only airline group in America, and one of three in the world, to join the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index. For the sixth consecutive year, the Group was acknowledged for sustainable practices, based on economic, social and environmental criteria.
LATAM Airlines Group’s shares are traded as ADRs on the Santiago and New York Stock Exchanges.