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Airfreight industry teams up to move the vaccine

[ March 18, 2021   //   ]

The 12-member SkyTeam Cargo global airline alliance has launched V Excellence, a dedicated program for shipping Covid-19 vaccines as immunisation programmes roll out worldwide. 

It covers the transport of Covid-19 vaccine shipments moved under its members’ Customized Vaccines product family, offering special handling, priority handling. Most members hold IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification and are experts in the transportation of pharmaceutical, health care and life science products, including procedures for dry ice to maintain ultra-cold temperatures.

SkyTeam Cargo members have already been active in vaccine transport. Aеroflot has carried millions of doses of doses, totalling about 50 tonnes. Aerolineas Argentinas Cargo has so far transported 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines from Russia and China to Argentina and other Latin American countries.  

For the first time in 86 years, Aeromexico Cargo chartered a flight to Russia and collected a shipment of vaccines destined for Mexico. This flight is in addition to other shipments from Argentina transporting active ingredients to manufacture around 12 million doses.  

Alitalia Cargo is also active in the transportation of the vaccines working closely with freight forwarders and leading pharmaceutical companies.

Delta Cargo has delivered almost half a million vaccines and clinical trial shipments within the US and across the globe, monitored by its Vaccine Watch Tower. 

Korean Air is transporting vaccines and vaccine ingredients to Asia and Europe and is also one of several SkyTeam Cargo members working with UNICEF for the global transport of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Saudia Cargo to date has transported more than 10 tons of both Pfizer & Astra Zeneca vaccines into its home country and is working to “exponentially enhance” this number in the coming weeks.

SkyTeam Cargo chairman and chief executive of Saudia Cargo, Omar Hariri, said: “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. Vaccines are vital to tackling the pandemic and as production ramps up, SkyTeam Cargo members have the skills and capacity to deliver, facilitating wider access for populations across the globe thanks to our strong partnerships with major freight forwarder experts in the pharma industry.” 

Senior vice president and head of the cargo business division at Korean Air, JD Eum, commented: “Korean Air is currently transporting Covid-19 vaccines and related medical supplies to/from Korea, and will continue to invest all necessary resources to ensure the safe transport of the vaccine. We hope to expand the vaccine’s delivery to more regions by cooperating closely with SkyTeam Cargo members and sharing networks.” 

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