China / News from across China

Airline launches 'green passage' to transport donated human organs

By XU JINGXI in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2016-05-24 19:56

Airline launches 'green passage' to transport donated human organs

Chen Jingyu (left), deputy director of the People's Hospital of Wuxi, gives a banner to Zhang Zifang, Party chief of China Southern Airlines, to express gratitude for the airline company's efforts in ensuring a fast and safe transfer of donated human organs. The airline company held a press conference on Tuesday in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, to release the operating mechanism of its "green passage" service for transfer of donated human organs. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China Southern Airlines, the country's first civil aviation company to open a "green passage" for transfer of donated human organs, released the fast channel's operating mechanism on Tuesday in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Passengers carrying donated human organs can call 95539 or apply for the "green passage" service at the check-in counter. Then the airline company will contact the airport and the air traffic control department to help the passenger go through security check and take off as quickly as possible.

To facilitate message transmission, China Southern Airlines also has arranged specialists to stay in touch with some hospitals.

Organ donation awareness has been rapidly spreading across China. Last year 2,766 people donated major organs after death, almost double the number in 2014.

But only 2.6 organs per donor on average were successfully used in transplantation, while the number is between 3.5 and 4 in foreign countries, according to Chen Jingyu, deputy director of the People's Hospital of Wuxi in Jiangsu province.

"An important reason behind the low rate of usage is the delay during the long-distance transfer of donated organs. A "green passage" for such transfers may increase the rate by 30 percent," Chen said.

Given the state of less developed general aviation in China, civil aviation is still the main way for long-distance transfer of donated human organs in the country.

Chen, an expert in lung transplantation, has been calling for the opening of fast channels for donated organs in civil aviation. As a deputy to the National People's Congress, he made a suggestion during the two sessions held in Beijing in March last year about the opening of the "green passage".

His appeal was answered a year later. On May 6, China's health, police and transportation authorities jointly released a circular establishing a "green passage" to ensure fast and safe transfer of donated human organs.

According to the circular, police will help ensure ambulance right of way when health authorities deliver donated human organs. Airlines should provide priority boarding services and civil aviation authorities should allow planes carrying donated organs to depart first.

China Southern Airlines became the country's first civil aviation company to open such a "green passage", helping transfer a donated heart from the airport in Hangzhou to the airport in Wuhan in only two hours and 15 minutes on May 8, three days after the circular was released.

The airline company's staff helped doctors through check-in and safety check in only five minutes, saving nearly 30 minutes than usual and the flight landed in Wuhan 26 minutes ahead of schedule.

Tan Wangeng, general manager of China Southern Airlines, vowed that the company will ensure long-term input of resources on the transfer of human organs.

"The transportation of human organs is like a race between time and life. China Southern Airlines will help gear up the speed with a well-developed network of air routes and the 'green passage' service," Tan said.

Hot Topics