XIAMEN (Xinhua) — Myles Bernard Weston, an Australian captain with Xiamen Airlines, added special significance to the charter flight MF8779 Thursday, as he is one of the first foreign pilots to fly to Wuhan since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
At 10 a.m., the airplane took off from the city of Xiamen, east China’s Fujian Province, and headed to Wuhan, the COVID-19 epicenter in central China’s Hubei Province, carrying 11,259 kg of supplies for the Fujian medical team assisting in Wuhan.
This is also among the first charter flights on the Chinese mainland transporting daily supplies to medical teams assisting the virus-plagued city.
The captain, from Australia’s Brisbane, has been working for Xiamen Airlines for one and a half years. While many other foreign captains are on holiday, Weston chooses to stay in Xiamen.
“I live in Xiamen with my wife and two daughters and we love here. Xiamen is my home now,” Weston said. “Actually I never consider to leave. I just have a feeling of wanting to stay.”
Weston regards his charter flight to Wuhan as “a great honor.”
“It’s an important duty to take this important medical gear and the supplies to Wuhan,” he said. “I’m just one member of a large team. We bring our best.”
To be fully prepared, the captain reviewed all information concerning the flight a day before departure, including the weather forecast and the local airport.
“My family are very proud that I’m able to perform the flight today. They also love China,” Weston said, adding that his family feels he is contributing to the fight against the virus on behalf of the whole family.
According to Xiamen Airlines, there are 11 foreign captains standing by to join the battle against the virus. So far, the company has dispatched 14 charter flights sending more than 1,600 medical staff and 700 tonnes of supplies to the hard-hit Hubei Province.
Weston said he was touched to see Chinese people stick together and keep great unity in the face of the epidemic.
“To the people of Wuhan, I will say, stay strong Wuhan! Stay strong China!” Weston said.