Trump administration ends ‘Project Airbridge’ effort to get supplies to the US
Around 249 flights will have been completed when Airbridge, an effort launched at a time when the US faced dire supply shortages, ends, according to an agency spokesperson.
Still, administration officials have left the door open for Airbridge to restart if necessary.
In mid-June, administration officials indicated that Airbridge would be phased out by June 30, but stressed it remains an option for future needs for personal protective equipment. FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor told reporters that any decision to restart Airbridge will rely on information from states and the White House coronavirus task force, among others.
In late March, the federal government partnered with six major US distributors to rush equipment overseas to the United States. FEMA covered the cost of flights, averaging between $750,000 to $800,000 each, and six companies — Cardinal Health, Concordance, Owens and Minor, McKesson, Medline, and Henry Schein — distributed the equipment in the US.
Project Airbridge accelerated the shipment of supplies from weeks to days and got supplies straight to the frontline workers, according to Gaynor. Half of the supplies flown in went to designated hotspot areas and the other half went to distributors’ customers, some of whom might also be in those critical areas.