About 48 tons of protective medical supplies arrived in Slovakia on March 25 to help combat the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The SALIS (Strategic Air Lift International Solution) AN-124 aircraft took off the morning of the 23rd of March from the SALIS Base of Operations, in Leipzig/Halle airport and arrived to Tianjin, northeastern China on the following day. The aircraft reached the final destination in Bratislava airport at around 14:40 local time on 25 March.
Slovakia, like the Czech Republic, is using the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) capabilities to airlift urgent medical protective equipment from China and tackle coronavirus crisis.
This mission presented similar challenges to the recent SALIS COVID-19 missions performed by the Czech Republic. Additional crewmembers were also allocated to this mission to enable a non-stop flight back to Slovakia. This together with the special procedures put in place ensured the maximum safety for all the members during the mission.
Slovakia has taken tough measures, including border closures, to slow down the spread of the disease. These medical supplies, mainly facemasks, surgical gloves and protective suits, will help alleviating the shortage and tackling the current crisis.
Strategic airlift capabilities have become key to help NATO Allies transferring medical equipment and other supplies during the COVID19 crisis.
The SALIS programme was created to provide unique air transport capability (outsized cargo) for its participating nations.
Currently, a group of nine NATO Allies (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) are benefiting from the programme. The programme is managed by the NATO Support Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the nine nations.
Through SALIS, nations obtain assured access of up to five An-124 aircraft within few days. In addition, the current contract with Antonov Logistics SALIS also provides access to An-22, An-225 and Il-76 Chap IV aircraft.