Safe evacuation of Ebola patients

Evacuation aircraft "Robert Koch" Safe evacuation of Ebola patients

The German government has brought into service a converted Airbus with an isolation unit to transport Ebola patients. Volunteers becoming infected with the virus can thus be given intensive care during the flight back from West Africa.

Ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Hermann Gröhe in the evacuation aircraft

Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe inspect the evacuation aircraft

Photo: picture-alliance/AP Images

Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe and Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier presented the new evacuation aircraft at Berlin’s Tegel Airport with representatives of Lufthansa and the Robert Koch Institute. The aircraft has been named "Robert Koch".

Three isolation units on board

The medevac aircraft "Robert Koch" has a special isolation unit which can be used to fly patients out of the Ebola-affected parts of West Africa and treat them in flight. The aircraft has three isolation cells that ensure that Ebola patients can be transported safely in spite of the highly infectious nature of the disease.

To prevent any spread of the virus, the isolation cells have their own outgoing ventilation system. Alongside a Lufthansa crew, a team of doctors will work on board in special protective suits.

Part of the package of measures

The converted A340 is part of the package of measures that the German government has adopted in the fight against Ebola. As well as the government and Lufthansa, the Robert Koch Institute was involved in the development work. The aircraft was converted over the last few weeks in Hamburg. Germany will also make the Airbus available to other nations.

The aircraft flew for Lufthansa as "Villingen-Schwenningen". It has been renamed "Robert Koch" in memory of the German doctor and microbiologist.