Air Cargo Industry Swings into Action for Vaccine Flights

The number of vaccine shipments now being transported by air are increasing dramatically as more products and inoculation plans are being launched. Below is a timeline outlining the key updates on transportation from the perspective of many sectors of the logistics industry.

vaccine flights

18 March – The airline alliance Sky Team Cargo have launched a programme for transporting COVID-19 vaccines. The V Excellence solution combines together the Customised Vaccines product with the Specialised Pharma product. “V Excellence is backed by a vast network reach combined with years of experience in special handling to guarantee the safe, reliable transportation of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines between continents,” said SkyTeam Cargo Chairman and Chief Executive of Saudia, Omar Hariri.

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has organised a designated customer service centre that is designated to COVID-19 vaccines. Senior Vice President of Sales and Distribution Gertlan Roelands said: “Understandably, at this exceptional time, a great deal of attention is devoted to combating the coronavirus crisis and everything that comes with it, such as the transportation of vaccines. I am grateful that we can make an essential contribution to this. Our extensive experience and know-how, our dedicated and well-trained teams, combined with our wide product range and global network, are the most important pillars to provide our customers with the best possible service.”

15 March – Turkish Cargo and Kuehne+Nagel have recently joined forces to transport 1.7 million doses of vaccines, on behalf of UNICEF for the Covax project. This will be transported from India to Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The carrier has already transported vaccines from Barcelona to Tunisia, Amsterdam to Kiev and Tbilisi to Amman, as part of the same project.

11 March – Ethiopian Airlines has been operating COVID-19 vaccine delivery flights from Mumbai to Addis Ababa and from Beijing to Brazzaville. The first batch to be transported was flown on 6th March to Addis Ababa and 10th March to Brazzaville.

Etihad Cargo and Expolanka Freight (EFL) transported a vital shipment of vaccines from India to Egypt. The two companies collaborated to deliver a consignment containing 12,475,000 doses of Tetanus and Diptheria. The WHO has recognised this as the largest vaccine manufacturing origin. EFL gave the shipment to Etihad in Mumbai where it then transited through Abu Dhabi en route to Cairo.

10 March – Softbox, a packaging manufacturer specialising in passive temperature -controlled packaging is helping Pfizer with its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. The companies have created a temperature controlled; reusable parcel shipper developed specifically for the ultra-low temperature that is required for the vaccine. This temperature is set at -70.

Qatar Cargo surpassed the 10-million-mile mark for COVID-19 vaccines transported. This was including vaccines for UNICEF to support their airfreight initiative. Since Dec 2020, Qatar has transported to 20 countries including Algeria, Cambodia, Denmark, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa and the Netherlands.

8 March – Amerijet delivered COVID-19 vaccines to the Caribbean and Central America on behalf of Odyssey Logistics Ltd. These vaccines had come from the Indian government as a gift from the Covishield AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
Vaccines heading for Jamaica, Guyana and Nicaragua were transferred at Miami International Airport. “Delivering 350,000 doses of life-saving vaccines to destinations in our service region is something our entire company is proud of, and all of us at Amerijet are honoured to be part of the global intiative to get the virus under control,” said Chief Executive Tim Strauss.

3 March – COVID-19 vaccines were transported from Toronto to Guyana by Caribbean Airlines. Marklan Moseley, General Manager of Cargo and New Business said: “Caribbean Airlines is happy to have transported this important shipment. We have always carried temperature sensitive cargo and since the approval of vaccines for distribution, we ensured all measures were in place to transport same. Caribbean Airlines Cargo will continue to do its part in the movement of relief supplies throughout the region.” This latest shipment improves Guyana’s progress in the roll out of its vaccination programme.

1 March – FedEx has been shipping the COVID-19 vaccine to centres throughout the US on behalf of McKesson Corp. The company have been shipping millions of the vaccines since distribution began in December 2020 and prepared to increase that number by scaling up to accommodate anticipated growth of the volume of the shipments throughout the Spring and Summer. FedEx has shipped vaccines and supply kits to distribution sites across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. COVID-19 vaccine volume is split with FedEx who have moved approximately half the doses allocated by the federal government.