To distribute covid vaccines, airlines plan 8,000 cargo plane airlift

IATA working with airlines, airports, global health bodies and pharmaceutical firms to pull together plans for a distribution program

Bloomberg
Updated10 Sep 2020, 11:06 AM IST
File photo: Reuters
File photo: Reuters

Reaching all 7.8 billion people on the planet with a coronavirus vaccine will require a global airlift filling the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing Co. 747 freighters, according the International Air Transport Association.

The capacity estimate assumes that an inoculation program would require only one dose, while multiple-course treatments would add to the demand, Glyn Hughes, the industry body’s head of cargo, said in a media briefing Wednesday.

“Airlift is the correct terminology here,” Hughes said. “We know the procedures well. What we need to do is scale them up to the magnitude that will be required.”

Some planes may not be suitable if the vaccines require the typical temperature range of 2-to-8 degrees Celsius for transporting drugs, he said. Frozen shipments would exclude even more aircraft.

IATA said it’s working with airlines, airports, global health bodies and pharmaceutical firms to pull together plans for a distribution program.

African Flights

Flights to Africa, Latin America and parts of Southeast Asia, which lack vaccine-production capabilities, will be especially critical.

These markets rely on cargo deliveries that are usually carried in the belly of wide-body passenger aircraft on long-distance routes, IATA said. Many of those planes remain grounded because of the fall-off in demand and travel restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus.

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First Published:10 Sep 2020, 11:06 AM IST
HomeNewsWorldTo distribute covid vaccines, airlines plan 8,000 cargo plane airlift

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