Korean Air has launched a COVID-19 vaccine transport task force to prepare for the safe and swift transport of the vaccine once it becomes available.
“Transporting vaccines is a very delicate and challenging process requiring specialised storage facilities and equipment. Vaccines generally need to be stored at low temperatures between 2°C and 8°C whereas some types require temperatures as low as -70°C,” the cargo carrier explained.
Korean Air’s cargo terminal at Incheon International Airport has 1,292 square metres of cold storage that can accommodate 100 tonnes of freight. The airline plans to use the cool cargo centre next to Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 opening next year, estimated at 2,533 square metres.
Korean Air has considerable experience delivering specialised and emergency freight during the COVID-19 pandemic including medical equipment and personal protection equipment (PPE). In April, the airline was recognised for swift delivery of half a million COVID-19 test kits to Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Maryland, USA, on its maiden flight to the airport.
Because of the carrier’s expertise in managing and transporting pharmaceuticals, Korean Air has been certified by IATA’s CEIV Pharma.
IATA said 8,000 Boeing 747s will be needed to transport one dose of vaccine for the world’s 7.8 billion population. This will make air transport crucial and in demand for the vaccine’s challenging logistics.
“Korean Air’s task force is reviewing all aspects concerning the vaccine’s transport, and will develop a strong system and infrastructure for its safe and swift distribution when it’s ready to be delivered,” said Eum Jae Dong, senior vice president and head of cargo business division at Korean Air.
The airline’s task force is monitoring vaccine developments including:
- Vaccine types and corresponding storage temperatures;
- Identifying and securing necessary equipment and facilities;
- Strengthening monitoring, safety and security procedures to deal with exceptional situations; and
- Conducting simulations of diverse scenarios.
“Korean Air is doing its best to help bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering the vaccine throughout the world as quickly and safely as possible,” Eum added.