EATC started the year 2020 with an exciting outlook for festivities: to celebrate 10 years of air mobility, of pooling and sharing, of success.
Then everything changed…
…only a few weeks into the new year, the first Covid-19 mission came up and EATC commanded a French mission to transport back EU citizens from China to Europe. This was the first of a large number of missions repatriating personnel, urgently delivering medical supplies and evacuating Covid-19 infected patients.
An unpredictable crisis also means new challenges. EATC’s staff had to react without delay to short notice tasks and to pandemic related restrictions, ranging from closure of airports and airspaces to limitations on cargo loading and medical constraints. EATC personnel aced with flexibility, innovative solutions and professionalism!
Immediately after the outbreak, a significant reduction in the number of non-essential missions (such as training) was observed. The number and nature of missions returned swiftly back to “normal”, although the complexity and last minute changes are ongoing challenges.
Get the facts and figures of 2020 in one of our next article!
Spick-and-span aircraft …
…also started phase-in in 2020 and were put under EATC’s operational control : the new Belgium Falcon 7X, the first A330 MRTTs* for the MMU* and the unique Luxembourg A400M (to be integrated into the Belgian-Luxembourg unit).
Another sudden crisis erupted…
…when an enormous explosion turned part of Beirut (Lebanon) into rubble. Within 24 hours following the disaster, EATC quickly responded managing a first mission of a French A330 MRTT aircraft to Beirut international airport. This mission was followed by many more humanitarian relief missions on behalf of France, Italy, Belgium and Spain.
EATC celebrated 10 years of air mobility …
…in a reduced setting respecting the Covid-19 situation. The celebration took place at EATC headquarters on Eindhoven airbase in the presence of the Dutch minister of Defence, a limited number of high level representatives and of course the EATC staff. On this 24 September, EATC also welcomed its new Commander, Major General Andreas Schick.
Looking forward to 2021…
…stepping up the efforts to strengthen air mobility!
“The next decade will bring new exciting opportunities with, among others, the multinational A330M MRTT unit to be fully operational, the integrated Belgium-Luxembourg A400M unit to pioneer multinational cooperation, and the binational French-German C130J unit to take shape. These (…) underpin EATC’s role as the major air mobility force provider in Europe with large and flexible operational options for air transport, medical evacuation and air-to-air refuelling.”
Major General A. Schick
* MMU : Multinational MRTT ( Multirole Tanker Transport) Unit stationed at Eindhoven airbase