The New England Patriots team plane is set to deliver over a million N95 masks from China to the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports. Patriots owner Robert Kraft spent $2 million of his own money to purchase the masks, and after jumping through loads of red tape, the masks are set to land in Boston on Thursday afternoon, where they'll be delivered to healthcare workers across Massachusetts.
Kraft also bought an additional 300,000 masks, which Ian Rapoport reports will be delivered to the Javits Center in New York City.
According to the WSJ's report, the process of getting the masks to the United States was a long and winding one. It really got underway weeks ago, when Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker made a deal with Chinese manufacturers for the masks, but needed a way to transport them. That's when Kraft stepped in. After making the necessary upgrades to the team plane, and securing visas for the flight crew, the plane was off to China. Once there, they reportedly had just three hours to load the plane.
“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Kraft told WSJ. “In today’s world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have a significant responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available to us.”
Both Kraft and Baker will be on hand Thursday, when it lands at Boston's Logan International Airport.
"It is an honor for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission," Robert Kraft said in a statement. "We knew that purchasing greatly-needed N95 masks and providing the Patriots plane to expedite their delivery to local hospitals would immediately help protect our courageous healthcare professionals. Multiple organizations across the public and private sectors, all of which were in lockstep with Governor Charlie Baker's visionary leadership, worked together to execute this mission with the purpose of helping save lives."