Lindsay Cates Lindsay Cates
Senior Manager, Communications and Strategy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


September 28, 2020


On April 26, the Boeing Dreamlifter, a converted Boeing 747-400 Large Cargo Freighter, flew from Hong Kong to Greenville, South Carolina, with 1.5 million medical-grade masks destined for health care professionals at Prisma Health, the largest health care system in South Carolina.

Normally, the company’s Dreamlifter planes are used to transport parts for the global aerospace supply chain, but Boeing realized the cargo flights could serve a greater purpose. Working in partnership with Prisma Health, Atlas Air Worldwide and Discommon, PPE was secured from trusted manufacturers in China and Boeing facilitated their transport, with Atlas Air operating the flights on behalf of Boeing.

Following the successful delivery in April, Boeing completed another mission in May using three Dreamlifter planes to transport more than 150,000 protective eye goggles and face shields from China for frontline workers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

Read more from the Business is... series for Other ways the business community is stepping up in times of need.

By July, Boeing had completed 12 Dreamlifter missions helping states across the country obtain large amounts of PPE. On its twelfth mission, a Dreamlifter transported a half million protective masks to Utah to be used for students and teachers across the state to prepare for the beginning of the school year.

As part of the Utah mission, custom clothing store H.M. Cole donated 250,000 masks (100,000 of which were sized for children). And Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear brand based in Salt Lake City, donated an additional 250,000 masks after converting one of its jacket manufacturers for temporary face mask production.

In early April Boeing also began producing thousands of 3D printed face shields per week in its factories across the Unites States to donate to health care professionals battling COVID-19. The company has also donated tens of thousands of units of PPE – including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits.

To date, Boeing has helped transport over four million units of PPE – including the in-house production of more than 39,000 3D-printed face shields – to front line health care professionals and other communities in need.

Along with their Dreamliner missions, Boeing is also leading the Confident Travel Initiative, partnering with airlines, global regulators, passengers and infectious disease experts to enhance aircraft cleanliness procedures and identify other solutions to reduce the risk of airborne illness transmission.

“Our commitment to ensuring the health of airline passengers and crews is unwavering,” said Mike Delaney, head of the Confident Travel Initiative at Boeing in a statement. “Air travel is coming back, and as that happens, we want passengers and crews to board Boeing airplanes without hesitation.”

For more information on Boeing’s efforts to combat COVID-19, visit

About the authors

Lindsay Cates

Lindsay Cates

Lindsay is a senior manager on the communications and strategy team. She previously worked as a writer and editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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