SkyTeam Cargo and its members are stepping up to support the vaccine distribution, as manufacturers ramp up production, with a dedicated programme for shipping Covid-19 vaccine doses.
“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,” said the cargo alliance chairman Omar Hariri, CEO of Saudia Cargo.
“The V EXCELLENCE program covers the transport of COVID-19 shipments moved under the members’ unique product family: CUSTOMIZED VACCINES, offering special handling and priority; and SPECIALIZED PHARMA, the solution for all pharma shipments,” the cargo alliance said in a press release.
Skyteam added that most of its members are CEIV Pharma certified to handle transport for pharmaceutical, health care and life science products, including complex procedures for certain vaccines requiring dry ice to maintain ultra-cold temperature.
Hariri added that the dedicated programme 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.’
JD Eum, senior vice president and head of cargo business division at Korean Air, said the carrier will continue to invest all necessary resources to ensure the safe transport of the vaccine, with plans to extend to more regions through close cooperation with fellow members and shared networks.
SkyTeam outlined how its members have been busy getting vaccines to where they are needed:
Aеroflot: Russian carrier has transported about 50 tonnes of Covid-19 vaccines in accordance with strict priority rules and conditions. It has carried millions of doses of to various continents.
Aerolineas Argentinas Cargo: The cargo airline has so far transported more than 3 million (3,374,000) doses of Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines from Russia and China to Argentina and other Latin American countries.
Aeromexico Cargo: For the first time in 86 years, it chartered a flight to Russia and collected a shipment of vaccines destined for Mexico. This flight is on top of other shipments from Argentina transporting active ingredients to manufacture around 12 million doses.
Air France-KLM Cargo: The Dutch carrier has moved millions of doses to various continents. It recently launched a 24/7 service centre to ensure safe vaccine transport. It introduced a customised product, available for all temperature ranges and container types, that offers highest priority on board, 24/7 dedicated service, monitoring and intervention, and specific security measures.
Alitalia Cargo: The Italian airline, leveraging its consolidated experience in shipping pharmaceutical products, has been moving medical supplies since the pandemic started. The airline is now active in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines working closely with freight forwarders and leading pharmaceutical companies.
Delta Cargo: The airline has safely delivered almost half a million vaccines and clinical trial shipments within the US and across the globe, with constant monitoring via its Vaccine Watch Tower.
Korean Air: The Asia Pacific carrier is transporting COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine ingredients to Asia and Europe and is one of several SkyTeam Cargo members working with Unicef in its air freight initiative.
Saudia Cargo: The flag carrier to date has transported more than 10 tonnes of both Pfizer and Astra Zeneca jabs into Saudi Arabia and is set to scale up this number in the coming weeks.