The Czech Republic will use Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS) to transfer urgent medical equipment from China and help tackling the coronavirus crisis in the country. In total, three SALIS missions will take place in the next days, under Czech Republic request. The first SALIS AN-124 flight will take place on 19 March 2020 and will arrive to Shenzhen Airport, in southeaster China, the following day. A total of 70 tons of urgent protective medical equipment, including surgery veils, respirators and protective googles among other kits, will be then loaded and transferred to the Czech Republic on 21 March 2020.
Additional crewmembers have been allocated to these missions to enable non-stop flights from Shenzhen to Pardubice airport (Czech Republic) and special permits granted to overcome the current restrictions. The next two SALIS missions, scheduled on 23 and 31 March, will follow a similar itinerary and procedure.Another SALIS participating nation, Slovakia, will also use SALIS capabilities to transport facemasks, surgical gloves, protective suits and other medical equipment from China. The flight is initially scheduled on 23 March 2020.
Strategic airlift capabilities are important to ensure that NATO Allies are able to deploy their forces and equipment rapidly wherever they are needed. These missions are a good example of how SALIS participating nations can make use of their hours and get assured access to strategic airlift capabilities even in this difficult time. The NATO Support and Procurement Agency stands ready and continues supporting NATO nations in their missions and operations, implementing the right measures to reduce the exposure and potential transmission of the virus.
The Strategic Air Lift International Solution or SALIS is a programme created to provide unique air transport capability (outsized cargo) for its participating nations. Currently, a group of nine NATO Allies (Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) are benefiting from the programme. The programme is managed by the NATO Support Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the nine nations. In December 2018, NSPA signed a contract with the German-based company Antonov Logistics Salis to obtain assured access of up to five AN-124 aircraft within few days. In 2019, 1900 flight hours were provided through the SALIS contract.