AIRBUS has delivered a further 865,000 surgical masks to authorities, bringing the total number of masks delivered to the UK since the Covid-19 crisis began to 2.25 million.

Despite facing the gravest crisis in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic, the aerospace company has used its test aircraft to fly in millions of masks and PPE equipment from China to Europe.

The latest consignment of surgical masks to the UK has been distributed to localities where the company has major UK bases, including Wales, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, Portsmouth, Stevenage and Oxford; it is understood many of the masks will be distributed to care homes and other frontline services.

Katherine Bennett CBE, Airbus Senior Vice-President in the UK, said: “The pandemic has been both a global health and economic emergency but I am immensely proud that, despite our own challenges as a result of Covid-19’s impact on the aviation industry, Airbus has played its part in trying to help in this international crisis.

“Our teams in China have helped load millions of surgical masks on to Airbus aircraft destined for Europe, and our workers in Broughton also formed part of the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium to produce 14,000 ventilators for the NHS in record time.

“We stand ready to continue to work with our industry partners and governments, both national and local, to assist in any way we can.”

Airbus first delivered 400,000 surgical masks destined for the NHS in March, with a further one million masks arriving in the UK via Airbus’ HQ in Toulouse in April.

Following consultation with both the UK and Welsh governments, it was agreed the latest batch of 865,000 surgical masks should be donated to the Welsh Government and English authorities where Airbus has sites for distribution to those sectors in greatest need locally.

The Welsh Government received 420,000 surgical masks in the latest delivery.

Minister for Economy and North Wales Ken Skates said: “We are very grateful for the efforts Airbus has made during this global pandemic, despite the immense challenges their own industry is facing at this time.

"From the delivery of masks to the skilled manufacture of ventilators in Broughton they should be proud of what they have achieved in contributing to the national effort.”