Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots football team, volunteered use of the team's Boeing 767 to transport 1 million masks at the request of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. (Photo: Universal Weather & Aviation)

New England Patriots’ Jet Delivers Masks

Universal Weather and Aviation found itself handling the logistics for another mission to transport one million masks from China to the U.S.—this time using the New England Patriots football team’s Boeing 767, according to a blog post. Universal was contacted by Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s company, the Kraft Group, for help with the mission, which was initiated by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker after a deal was struck with Chinese manufacturer Tencent to acquire the masks for state healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Universal's assistance included consulting the Kraft Group and Tencent on a plan and guidelines to get permission from the U.S. and Chinese embassies, as well as leveraging Universal's contacts within the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Universal also offered technical advice to the Kraft Group, which had to equip the 767 with new avionics to make the overseas flight.

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The provider sent a pair of Bombardier Global 6000s to China to pick up surplus N95 masks and other medical equipment for Mount Sinai Health System.

Lastly, Universal sent team member Eric Tang from Beijing to Shenzen to source and arrange a 25-member crew to load the masks aboard the Boeing widebody. Tang also coordinated delivery of the masks, which were scattered among several warehouses in Shenzen, to the airport.

In a separate announcement, Universal said it would waive certain fees—trip feasibility assessments, research, consultation services, and ground-handling setup charges—for any mission classified as a humanitarian medical supply flight.

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