Coronavirus vaccine distribution will take 8,000 cargo jets: IATA

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The International Air Transport Association is warning governments around the world that the air cargo industry could face severe capacity constraints that could hamper the timely distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry. But that won’t happen without careful advance planning. And the time has come for that, ”IATA Managing Director and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. “We urge governments to take the lead in facilitating cooperation throughout the supply chain so that facilities, security arrangements and border processes are ready for the gigantic and complex task ahead. ”

The trade group noted that simply delivering a single dose to 7.8 billion people would require 8,000 Boeing 747 cargo planes.

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In order to ensure that vaccines are maintained and transported in a timely manner, IATA stressed the importance of having temperature-controlled facilities and equipment, trained staff, and strong monitoring capacity readily available.

The organization also noted that the vaccines will be “high value commodities” that will require arrangements in place to ensure that shipments are safe from tampering or potential theft.

In addition, IATA calls on governments to introduce expedited procedures for the transport of air cargo carrying the COVID-19 vaccine across borders, including exempting flight crew members from quarantine requirements, removing hours of service curfews, prioritizing inbound shipments to avoid potential. temperature deviations caused by delays and tariff relief.

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The warning comes as air cargo capacity has been severely affected by the pandemic as airlines have downsized their networks and put their planes in long-term storage due to reduced demand.

“Even if we assume that half of the vaccines needed can be transported by land, the air cargo industry will still face its biggest transportation challenge,” de Juniac added. “When planning their immunization programs, especially in developing countries, governments must take very careful account of the limited air cargo capacity currently available. If borders remain closed, travel limited, fleets stranded and employees on leave, the ability to provide life-saving vaccines will be greatly compromised. ”

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 27.9 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and more than 905,000 related deaths. The United States has more than 6.3 million of these cases and more than 191,000 of these deaths.

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