A German newspaper has reported that the government is developing a special aircraft designed to transport Ebola patients. At present, only the US has planes equipped for the task.
Citing government sources, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported that officials planned to develop several planes that were designed to safely carry such highly infectious patients.
According to the paper, the planes are meant to be ready by mid-November, which is when the first German volunteers to fight the disease are to arrive in the West African countries affected by the current outbreak.
The newspaper reported, however, that goverment officials were unsure whether this schedule could be met.
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has admitted in the past weeks that neither the German military nor any other EU countries have aircraft suited to the task. Only the United States has access to two specially equipped planes, belonging to the Georgia-based company Phoenix Air, which have also been used to transport Ebola patients to Germany.
A transport with one of the US planes (photo above), which can carry only one patient at a time, costs from $200,000 to $1 million (157,000-784,000 euros), according to the report.
So far the German Bundeswehr has purchased 20 special isolation cells that can be installed in Airbus MedEvac aircraft when needed. The newly developed planes are to contain built-in treatment facilities.
Full article: Media: Germany ‘working to build Ebola transport plane’ (Deutsche Welle)