Air cargo operators, airports planning steps to make sure clean transport of COVID-19 vaccines

Major Indian airports will present versatile slots and separate temperature-controlled zones whereas air cargo operators would run a number of flights in a short while span to move COVID-19 vaccines which might be anticipated to grow to be accessible in India early subsequent yr.

The Indian authorities is in contact with Moderna, Pfizer, Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila over the progress of the medical trials of every of the vaccine candidates.

The CSMIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport) in Mumbai is the “largest pharma gateway in the country” and it’ll present versatile slot allocation for advert hoc freighter operations for transportation of COVID-19 vaccines, a spokesperson of the airport informed PTI.

A slot is a date and time at which an plane is permitted to depart or arrive at an airport.

The CSMIA will present “round the clock green channel with dedicated truck docks, X-Ray machine, ULD (unit load device) buildup workstation” and key account managers shall be deployed for “round the clock monitoring of vaccine operations”,” the spokesperson mentioned.

On the subject of COVID-19 vaccine transportation, a spokesperson of air cargo operator Blue Dart — which has six Boeing 757 freighter plane in its fleet — informed PTI that the corporate’s air functionality “has various scalability options including charters as well as variable timing options”.

“We have eight pharma grade conditioning rooms at eight strategic locations like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune. These rooms are at close proximity to our Blue Dart aviation station which will increase our turnaround time and can support in speedy supply,” he added.

A senior official of one other main air cargo operator in India mentioned the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines for as large as a inhabitants as India’s shall be a “massive undertaking” and his firm is readying to function “multiple flights in a short time span” each time the demand arises.


Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla had on November 19 mentioned at a summit that the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine must be accessible for healthcare employees and aged folks by round February 2021 and by April for most of the people in India.

IndiGo, when requested about vaccine transportation planning, informed PTI, “In line with our business model and cost leadership strategy, we are happy to evaluate the shipment of the COVID-19 vaccines onboard our aircraft and will promise to contribute to the best of our abilities.”

IndiGo has, amid the pandemic, deployed 10 of its passenger plane for cargo operations solely.

An Air India spokesperson mentioned the airline “is hoping and would definitely be a part of any plan of ‘bringing the vaccine’ as well as transport it within the country.”

A spokesperson of DIAL, which operates the Delhi worldwide airport, mentioned there are two cargo terminals with capability to deal with over 1.5 lakh million tonnes every year and so they have “state-of-the-art temperature-controlled zones with separate cool chambers ranging from +25°C to -20°C, which would be extremely conducive for distribution of COVID 19 vaccines”.

Besides, there are cool dollies on the airside that guarantee unbroken cool chain throughout temperature-sensitive cargo motion between terminal and plane, he added.

A spokesperson of HIAL, which operates the Hyderabad worldwide airport, mentioned it additionally has temperature-controlled zones for vaccine transportation.

Moreover, the freighter parking stands are simply 50 meters away from the terminal, thereby minimizing the ramp publicity timing and guaranteeing fast turn-around of the plane, he mentioned.

The CSMIA spokesperson mentioned a devoted COVID-19 activity power shall be chargeable for advance planning and collaboration with all of the stakeholders throughout the provide chain course of to “ensure optimal temperature management, dwell time reduction with prior special permissions from the regulators and lower processing time”.

“Furthermore, a round the clock customer service cell will be dedicated for COVID-19 vaccine EXIM (export and import) consignments in order to address customer queries, pre-alerts and status updates,” he mentioned.

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