At 17:32 on February 27, China Postal Airlines flight CF9121 takes off from Beijing Capital Airport carrying 16 German-made ECMOs and their supporting consumables with a total weight of 1.618 tons. At 19:16, it arrives at Wuhan Tianhe Airport in a light rain. Wuhan branch of China Postal Airlines and ground support department of Tianhe Airport start unloading the life-saving machines immediately and complete the handover from air to land transportation as soon as possible.
Under the leadership of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (hereafter referred to as CAAC), and guided and coordinated by CAAC regional administrations, Air China Cargo and China Postal Airlines jointly open a Frankfurt-Beijing-Wuhan air express channel, and transport the “artificial lungs” from Germany to Wuhan in over 10 hours so that they can be used to save the critically ill patients with COVID-19 at the front line of anti-epidemic. This is the 20th taking-off of the special freighters of China Postal Airlines in winning the battle of epidemic prevention and control, and the medical supplies this time are also the most expensive the postal freighters have ever transported. CCTV news makes a live broadcast of this flight.
The transportation of 16 German-made ECMOs and their supporting consumables is a significant support mission of CAAC. On the noon of February 26, the Defense Mobilization Office of China Postal Airlines receives the prenotification from CAAC to carry out this important transportation. In the afternoon, the formal notification arrives, all departments of China Postal Airlines start the support operation procedures. They react quickly and formulate solutions for all operation links with seamless convergence. Under the direct guidance of the Department of Transport of the CAAC, CAAC North China Regional Administration and CAAC Central & Southern Regional Administration, and the collaboration of the Customs authorities in Beijing Capital International Airport, China Postal Airlines and Air China Cargo rapidly complete the coordination of their transportation plans thanks to the six-year cooperation between the two airlines.
At 4:05 on February 27, Air China Cargo flight CA1042 takes off from Frankfurt Airport, Germany, carrying the life-saving medical materials. At 12:41, it lands at Beijing Capital International Airport. Soon after the unloading and customs clearance procedures, China Postal Airlines quickly finishes the handover of the materials and reassemble them in accordance with the postal freighter model. According to the weather conditions, Beijing branch of China Postal Airlines has been well-prepared to prevent wetness from the rain in advance. In order to guarantee the loading of important materials, Beijing branch of China Postal Airlines has dispatched outstanding staff members to the operation site four hours in advance. It also coordinates with the ground support department of the airport to ensure that the loading equipment is in place beforehand, thus greatly reducing the time of container loading operation. In just two hours, all procedures of transferring international materials to domestic materials are completed, setting a time limit record for joint operation of different organizations in the battle of the epidemic prevention and control.
At 9:00 on February 27, the maintenance control center of the Maintenance Engineering Department of China Postal Airlines arranges the aircraft B-5156 to conduct post-flight check, preventive disinfection and engine check to prevent in-flight shutdown in accordance with the schedule of the 20th chartered flight. "The ECMOs are the ultimate weapons for the treatment of critically ill patients with COVID-19. This is also the 11th flight to Wuhan for the first Boeing 737-800 aircraft / B-5156 introduced by China Postal Airlines. Therefore, we maintenance personnel are deeply aware of our great responsibilities. We must carefully complete all checks and cockpit disinfection, ensuring that the aircraft is in good condition and the crew has no contact with the virus, and guaranteeing the smooth completion of this special flight task. " said Han Hongbin, the head of the first section on duty. At 17:32, the special freighter of China Postal Airlines fully loaded with the ECMOs to aid Wuhan starts taxiing on the runway. Thanks to the strong support of the departments concerned, the postal freighter takes off 28 minutes ahead of schedule — from 18:00 to 17:32, gaining more time for the patients.
In addition, at 15:50 on February 27, Wuhan Tianhe Airport, together with Wuhan branch of China Postal Airlines, organizes a coordination meeting on the transportation of the 16 "artificial lungs" with relevant units such as operations control center, public area management department, logistics company and ground service department, and deploys relevant support details. The operations control center and ground service department are required to cooperate with Wuhan branch of China Postal Airlines to guarantee the support work after the arrival of the special freighter. The logistics company puts in place designated personnel and equipment. After the unloading operation, the materials are transferred to the domestic cargo area of the airport, where they are handed over to Wuhan Mail Center by Wuhan branch of China Postal Airlines. At 19:33, the airport tractor pulls the container of the ECMOs to the air terminal processing center, where Xia Gaorong, head of the international operation center of Wuhan Mail Center, and the team members have been waiting. As the ECMO machines are very precious, the operators handle them with great care. At 20:05, with the completion of the loading operation, the mail truck immediately leaves for Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science & Technology, sending these precious machines to the front line.