On 14 January 2021, AECC* organized a medical evacuation mission with a German A310 from Niger back to Cologne. On board 27 Belgian, 4 German and 2 Italian Covid-19 infected military personnel and a multinational German-Belgian medical team.
Key to this perfectly coordinated mission: professionalism, readiness and flexibility!
When Belgium, Germany and Italy, one by one, introduced requests to evacuate positive-tested military from different regions in Niger, AECC reacted without delay combining the requests into one single multinational mission. AECC took into account the different national regulations and of course the safety of the patient before choosing the best suited asset: a dedicated German A310 in a special medical evacuation configuration. Then AECC set up, together with the three involved National Patient Evacuation Coordination Centers, a multinational medical crew. Last minute requests, arriving 30 minutes before the A310 took off to the air, were treated promptly with the same accuracy and care as early requests.
Niamey, the capital of Niger, was the hub for this strategic aeromedical evacuation flight by the A310. The Belgian military personnel, stationed in Maradi some 600 km away from the capital, were moved to Niamey by an already scheduled Belgian C-130 resupply flight for the region. The shift from a resupply to a combined resupply-evacuation mission was closely coordinated between EATC and the Belgian 15th Wing. Thanks to an accurate timing and a perfect coordination between all actors, the patients were handed over in a tail-to-tail swop from the C-130 to the A310 aircraft.
All the patients were flown back to Cologne (Germany). AECC coordinated with the Italian colleagues connecting flights to Italy taking into account national Italian rules. They were also in close contact with the Belgian authorities who organized ground transportation back to Brussels.
This is what EATC stands for: multinationality, pooling and sharing, mutual support and success!
* EATC’s Aeromedical Evacuation Control Centre