Medical supplies for rural Mexico clinics and computers for disadvantaged children filled cargo holds and overhead storage bins on the first flight of Aeromexico's newest Boeing Next-Generation 737-700 airplane.
Much of a new airplane's cargo space typically remains unused when an airline flies a new airplane home. However, since 1992 Aeromexico and more than 58 other airlines have periodically donated that space for no-cost transport of relief supplies.
This time around, Aeromexico teamed up with international relief agency World Vision, Boeing and airplane leasing company ILFC to fill the shiny 737-700 with 14 pallets of surgical gloves, sponges, drapes and antiseptics for 20 rural medical clinics in several Mexican states. An additional two pallets contained 10 computers for Coatitla ADP (Area Development Program), an Internet training program for impoverished youths around Mexico City. Total weight of the supplies: 7,673 lbs.
"We could not have done this without you," World Vision Senior Vice President Scott Jackson told Aeromexico Chief Executive Officer Fernando Flores Sept. 13 during a ceremony in Seattle marking the airplane delivery. "The medical supplies will be especially important during the current rainy season, which is marked by floods and tropical storms."
After arriving in Mexico City last week, the goods were delivered to World Vision for distribution.
World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization that helps children and communities worldwide by tackling the causes of poverty. It assists the world's poorest children and families in nearly 100 countries, including the United States. Its non-profit work helps all people, regardless of their religious beliefs, gender, race, or ethnic background.
Flores responded that Aeromexico is "proud to support this effort for the benefits it will provide to Mexico's citizens in need." In an October delivery flight the airline will again provide cargo space for 14 additional pallets of medical supplies.
While seemingly simple on its face, coordinating relief supplies with delivery of a new airplane requires close cooperation between many parties, including the relief agency, customs authorities, Boeing -- which stores and loads materials -- the airline, and, as in the Aeromexico case, ILFC, the company leasing the airplane.
The first Boeing assisted relief mission was in October 1992 using a TACA Airlines 737 delivery flight to ferry antibiotics and pain killers to El Salvador. Since then, more than two million pounds of relief supplies have been delivered to people around the world. The airlines have sent supplies to people in more than 30 countries. More than 20 nongovernmental, nonprofit organizations have participated.