Various Airlines including Emirates and Etihad are partnering with UNICEF to ensure that shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are prioritised.
IATA yesterday revealed that the world is currently more locked down than at virtually any point in whole of 2020. Different types of travel restrictions and flight bans are making travel difficult, if not impossible, for many. The COVID-19 vaccines are an answer to some of these questions. And for that, airlines need to ensure that it gets delivered where it is needed.
UNICEF’s humanitarian AirFreight initiative
UNICEF today launched the humanitarian AirFreight initiative. Under this initiative, the charity is working with 16 airlines and airline groups to ensure that vaccines are delivered to over 100 countries as part of the COVAX Facility. The Initiative will also act as a global logistics preparedness mechanism for other humanitarian and health crises over the longer term.
Based on the COVAX Facility’s indicative distribution and first round allocation plan, 145 countries will receive doses to immunize around three per cent of their population, on average, starting in the first half of 2021, subject to all requirements being met and final allocation plans.
To transport the vaccines, UNICEF is working with:
- Emirates Skycargo
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- United Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Lufthansa Cargo
- Air France-KLM
- Cathay Pacific
- Korean Air
- Etihad Airways
- Astral Aviation
- Brussels Airlines
- IAG Cargo
In addition to prioritizing shipments of these life-saving supplies, the airlines will take measures such as temperature control and security, while also adding freight capacity to routes where needed.
“Delivery of these life-saving vaccines is a monumental and complex undertaking, considering the sheer volumes that need to be transported, the cold chain requirements, the number of expected deliveries and the diversity of routes. We are grateful to these airlines for joining forces with the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to support the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.”said Etleva Kadilli, Director, Supply Division, UNICEF.
“Every single day counts in the fight against COVID-19 and the sooner that communities can have access to COVID-19 vaccines, the sooner they can curb the spread of the virus and get back on their feet. As a global player flying to more than 130 destinations, Emirates SkyCargo has been committed to the fight against the pandemic from the very early stages and we have rolled out a number of initiatives to expedite the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through Dubai, starting with our GDP certified dedicated airside hub. Through our partnership with UNICEF, we will be taking yet another step to prioritise and facilitate the rapid and secure movement of COVID-19 vaccines particularly to communities hard hit by the disease.”said Nabil Sultan, Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo, Emirates.
“Etihad Cargo had no hesitation in supporting UNICEF’s far-reaching humanitarian initiative to aid children most at risk worldwide. This partnership is in line with Etihad Aviation Group’s commitment to improve the wellbeing of people everywhere and underpins Abu Dhabi’s international role in providing humanitarian aid to build a safer world. With extensive experience and expertise in safe and efficient pharmaceutical logistics, Etihad Cargo will leverage its IATA CEIV-certified PharmaLife specialised pharmaceutical and healthcare product for the transportation of pharmaceuticals under temperature control which, under the membership of Abu Dhabi’s The HOPE Consortium, is already offering a complete supply chain solution to aid global COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”said Martin Drew, Senior Vice President, Sales and Cargo, Etihad.