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Project Airbridge Transports Urgently Needed Medical Supplies

The Supply Chain Task Force continues to execute a strategy maximizing the availability of critical protective and lifesaving resources through FEMA in response to COVID-19.

Project Air Bridge was created to reduce the time it takes for U.S. medical supply distributors to receive personal protective equipment and other critical supplies into the country for their respective customers. FEMA covers the cost to fly supplies into the U.S. from overseas factories, reducing shipment time from weeks to days.

Overseas flights arrive at operational hub airports for distribution to hotspots and nationwide locations through regular supply chains. Flight arrivals do not mean supplies will be distributed in the operational hub locations.  Per agreements with distributors, 50 percent of supplies on each plane are for customers within the hotspot areas with most critical needs. The remaining 50 percent is fed into distributors’ normal supply chain to their customers in other areas nationwide.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and FEMA determine hotspot areas based on CDC data.

Atlas Air operated the first flight under Project Airbridge on March 29 delivering critical medical supplies from Shanghai to JFK International Airport in New York. UPS will manage and broker charter flights under Project Airbridge to transport millions of pounds of PPE.  As of April 17, UPS reported that it had added over 200 company-owned and chartered air freighter flights in April to support Project Airbridge and other healthcare-related missions.

Working together, vital resources are efficiently distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, pre-hospital medical services, state and local governments, and other facilities critical to caring for the American people during this pandemic.