British Airways has today set up an emergency relief flight to transport aid workers and more than 36 tons of vital supplies to victims of the Gujurat earthquake disaster.
The flight, which will leave on Saturday morning, will be taking members of Hindu Temples in the UK to join in the rescue mission.
The supplies will include tents, clothing, blankets, plastic sheeting and medical supplies. The supplies have been co-ordinated by communities from temples in Bolton, Aston in Birmingham, Manchester, and Willesden and Neasden in London. The mission is also supported by donations from British Airways staff.
The flight will be manned by volunteer flight and cabin crew. Their number will include Captain Minesh Patel, 33, a British Airways pilot who has family members missing in the disaster-zone.
British Airways has already contributed £150,000 towards the disaster relief, with donations of £100,000 towards the re-building of Gujurat and a further £50,000 towards UNICEF’s Change for Good Appeal.
A BA747 passenger jet has been made available to take the necessary freight at a few hours’ notice. It will leave Heathrow’s Terminal Four at 7.20am, arriving in Bombay at 21:40 local time.
Among the aid workers will be 10 members of the Bolton Temple who will be travelling direct to the region to assist in the relief work. Senior members of the Neasden Temple will also assist in ensuring the relief supplies reach their destination.
Geoff Want, BA’s general manager, operations, said: “This is a human tragedy which has touched the hearts of our staff and there was a tremendous will to do whatever we could to help.
“We are one of Britain’s biggest employers for the Asian community and many of them have been personally touched by these dreadful events. But there has been a superb effort by all our staff from across the airline to offer every aid and assistance.”