On Friday, April 17, at 8:59 p.m. local time, the crew of a Boeing 767 started an exceptional LATAM Cargo flight from Viracopos International Airport (Brazil) to Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Buenos Aires). This flight had a special mission: to transport cells in the airplane’s cabin. The aircraft arrived at Ezeiza at 11:44 p.m. local time with the cells guarded by part of the crew team and the hope of saving the life of a patient suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome.
Freighter aircraft are currently the only ones enjoying more international freedom of transit due to their relevance to global supply chains. Hence, the “Solidary Plane” program becomes an opportunity to contribute to vital cases like this one.
Therefore, after being contacted by INCUCAI, LATAM Cargo committed to transporting the stem cells. In order to accomplish this, a multidisciplinary team from LATAM Group—composed of more than 30 people—promptly planned the operation and crew training necessary for the transportation and manipulation of the stem cells.
This trip is part of the company’s Solidary Plane program, which has addressed health needs for 9 years in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. The program facilitates the transportation of patients that require medical treatment, multidisciplinary health teams, organs, tissues, stem cells and medicine, as well as medical supplies.
“In a pandemic situation, freighter flights become more important than ever, and programs such as the Solidary Plane become hope. We are facing the largest crisis in our history, but we will make every effort possible so one of our flights can provide a person with a life opportunity”, stated Luis Eduardo Melnik, LATAM Cargo’s Captain, who flew the airplane carrying the stem cells.
INCUCAI is an entity that promotes, regulates, coordinates and monitors organ, tissue and cell donation/transplant activity in Argentina. This institution’s Haematopoietic Progenitor Cells area noted that due to COVID-19, each case is being evaluated individually in order to offer each patient the best possible alternative. “This pandemic is challenging all of us and working methods are changing, but, fortunately, we are being successful in providing ill patients with bone marrow transplants from foreign donors. In this case, thanks to a donor from Brazil and LATAM Cargo’s support, a patient from Argentina will be transplanted” they stated.