Airbus and Boeing design and build some of the most complex structures on earth but for now the two aircraft manufacturers are focusing on face masks, visors and headbands—the equipment needed to fight COVID-19.


They are using their expertise to make or move medical equipment and components that are in high demand around the world.

Boeing is donating three of its Dreamlifters—modified 747-400LCFs developed to carry 787 Dreamliner components—to transport urgently needed medical supplies to healthcare professionals on the frontline of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Airbus’s Beluga super transporter, a test A350-1000, A380 and A400M are part of a fleet helping to deliver supplies from China and across Europe. Since mid-March, Airbus has flown medical supplies in from China three times and distributed them from its bases in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain.
“I would like to pay tribute to all the Airbus teams, globally, supporting the fight against COVID-19. They're living our values in assisting those who are saving lives every day,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO.

But the manufacturers are not just delivering equipment. They are also making it.

In Spain, Airbus employees are working around the clock to make visor frames for protective face masks using 3D printing technology. More than 20 printers across Airbus sites in Getafe, Illescas, Albacete and Seville—supplemented by employees’ own personal machines—have been working non-stop for weeks.

At the company’s Wichita engineering site, which normally focuses on wing design, team members are helping 3D-print headbands for a crowdsourced protective face shield design.

Airbus has also joined industrial, technology and engineering businesses across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors in the Ventilator Challenge UK, a private sector syndicate response to the UK government’s call to help produce 10,000 medical ventilators. 

At Boeing, staff are ramping up production of 3D re-useable face shields across 10 locations after it delivered its first batch of 2,300 in the first week of April. It plans to produce thousands more per week to meet the ever-growing need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States.

Boeing has also donated tens of thousands of PPE equipment including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits.

“We are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun.

It is not yet clear how long this type of support is needed but both manufacturers, along with many other aviation industry stakeholders, say are prepared to help for as long as it takes.


Picture Credit | Airbus