Project Airbridge was created to shorten the amount of time it takes for U.S. medical supply distributors to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical medical supplies into the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic response. This shipment method, the focus of the acceleration effort of FEMA’s supply chain task force, was a temporary solution to expedite the transportation of commercially distributed PPE from international manufacturers to the United States
Project Airbridge’s shipments addressed the immediate shortfall in our nation’s PPE needs by arriving up to nine times faster than cargo deliveries by sea – allowing prioritized distributors to deliver medical supplies to the point of greatest need across the nation during the height of the COVID-19 response.
Since the first airbridge flight landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport March 29, FEMA completed 227 flights with an additional 22 scheduled, or in transit, for a total of approximately 249 flights (as of June 18). The 100th flight arrived April 30 and the 200th flight arrived June 2.
Recognizing the PPE supply chain is stabilizing across the nation, the Unified Coordination Group approved phasing out of Project Airbridge and scaling back flights through mid-June, with the final flight landing in the United States on or about June 30. Project Airbridge will remain an option to expedite deliveries of medical items should the United States have a future emergent need for critical PPE due to the COVID-19 pandemic.