Over the course of a week in mid-March, the Aer Lingus team prepared to step into the unknown with the first of dozens of emergency PPE charter flights to and from China. Airliner World’s Gordon Smith spoke to Captain Brian O’Sullivan about this extraordinary team effort.
Aer Lingus is no stranger to flying long-haul. Before the full onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the airline would fly dozens of transatlantic flights each week, including regular hops to Chicago, San Francisco and even a 4,500nm (8,337km) service linking Dublin with Los Angeles. As one company executive told me late last year: “Heading west is what we do best.” That’s not to say that the Irish flag carrier couldn’t take you eastbound, but you’ll be struggling to get further than Rhodes – a distance of around 1,759nm, (3,257 km) – without the help of its codeshare partners.