The masks must be sent at the weekend to hospitals. - FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP
The Marne airport is at the heart of the area most affected by the Covid-19 epidemic: the Grand-Est and Ile-de-France regions. A cargo plane carrying nearly 10 million medical masks landed on Monday at Paris-Vatry.
Arrived shortly after 2 p.m. on a closely guarded tarmac, the device contained "about 7 million masks" ordered by the state, as well as "others from donations made to France by Chinese companies," said the prefect of Marne, Pierre N'Gahane.
900 million masks by June
This is the second delivery from China, after that made on Sunday at Roissy airport by an Air France transport plane - chartered by logistician Bolloré according to several sources familiar with the matter - which contained 5.5 millions of these masks.
Paris-Vatry Airport will receive "the vast majority of masks ordered by the State", or "approximately 600 million masks during the crisis period, to peak at 900 million by June," said the prefect. . "Some tests will be carried out, then the masks will be stored" in a secure place and "routed progressively" to hospitals and other "points identified by the government (…) at the end of the week", he added .
A burst to secure the delivery
To "secure stocks", the prefecture "mobilized two gendarmerie sections" and "benefits from the support of Operation Resilience". This Monday afternoon, a Rafale type aircraft was also patrolling over the airport.
The device, an Antonov-124 from the Volga company, "is the first in a chain of rotations chartered by the logistician Geodis on behalf of the State," said Eric Martin-Neuville, general manager of the activity Geodis international transport commission. Four rotations are planned each week with two devices of this type. The Antonov-124 can transport 650 m3 of goods, or 10 to 13 million masks per flight, according to him.
Origin: Shenzen and Shanghai
Flights are operated from Shenzhen and Shanghai and the planes must refuel en route to Krasnoyarsk, not being able to make the direct flight to Vatry, located 150 kilometers east of Paris, which has a cargo area dedicated to freight.
On Saturday, the government announced the establishment of an air bridge with China to safely transport cargoes of masks, which caregivers are sorely lacking to protect themselves from the epidemic of Covid-19.
Coronavirus in Lille: The manufacturing of the surgical surgical mask, made in the North, will be extended to the whole of France
Coronavirus: 5.5 million masks made in China arrived in Roissy on Sunday