Liège airport has been selected by the United Nations specialised agencies the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) alongside seven other airports around the world to serve as a hub in the transportation of critical supplies (masks, gloves, test kits, …) intended for medical staff in the fight against the new coronavirus, reports Belgian financial newspaper L’Echo on Tuesday.
Alongside seven other airports around the world (in South Africa, China, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malaysia and Panama), Liège with its ground handling partner Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) will serve as a hub in the distribution of medical equipment, according to WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, quoted by Indian air cargo news publication Stat Trade Times.
“We estimate that the supply chain may need to cover more than 30 percent of the world’s needs in the acute phase of the pandemic. Every month, we will need to ship at least 100 million medical masks and gloves, up to 25 million N95 respirators, gowns and face shields, up to 2.5 million diagnostic tests and large quantities of oxygen concentrators and other equipment for clinical care,” the WHO chief forecasted.
The WFP estimates that it will need $280 million simply to cover the cost of storing and moving supply. “The costs of procuring supplies will be much greater,” Ghebreyesus added.
“The fact that we are operational 24 hours a day – which is rare -, our processing capacity, our very good geographical location and finally our very dense interconnection played in the choice of Liège Airport“, said the airport’s CEO Luc Partoune.