As a string of COVID-19 vaccines near approval, Ethiopian Airlines is gearing up to handle the unprecedented logistical challenge of transporting millions of life-saving doses to Africa.
The airline’s recently completed US$300M passenger terminal at Bole International Airport was designed with a focus on bio-security and bio-safety measures and will be key to the success of inoculating millions of people against the deadly coronavirus.
“Ethiopian Airlines will repeat its remarkable and globally recognised success in leading the fast delivery of PPEs a few months ago with similar delivery speed, professional handling, and maintaining the cold chain during the forthcoming global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Ethiopian Group CEO Tewolde GebreMariam.
“In anticipation of the Covid-19 vaccine release, we will be at the forefront to further discharge our responsibility in the distribution of the vaccine across the globe,” he added.
Ethiopian Airlines has been working around the clock since the pandemic began, delivering medicine, surgical gowns and masks and supporting global supply chains as passenger numbers collapsed and airlines grounded planes.
In preparation for the logistics challenge, the airline announced that it had struck a partnership with Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao to introduce a cold chain capable of transporting temperature-sensitive medicines from China to the rest of the world. The air freight will depart from Shenzhen Airport, which Alibaba says houses China’s first cross-border medical cold chain facility, twice a week to countries via Dubai and Addis Ababa.
With temperature controlled pharma handling storage and dedicated cool dollies, our state-of-the-art Pharma Wing is best equipped to take care of your pharmaceuticals.
Ethiopian Cargo Pharma Wing.#Ethiopian pic.twitter.com/2fEmkP7okV
— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) November 11, 2020
The airline noted that the entire cold chain cabin would be equipped with a temperature control system that monitors the cabin’s temperature in real-time as Several leading vaccine candidates need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures. BioNTech and Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius during transportation.
To achieve this, the 54,000sqm cargo terminal in Ethiopia has been outfitted with compartmentalised cold storage facilities with a temperature between – 23°C to 25. Shipments are also scheduled to ensure deliveries arrive with enough time to safely move the medicine from container to freezer at the destination.
In Nairobi, Kenya Airways (KQ) has unveiled its ultra-modern pharma facility at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to help improve logistics in distributing a potential COVID-19 vaccine in Africa.
According to Dick Murianki, KQ Cargo Director, The investment in the ultra-modern pharma facility, though coinciding with COVID-19 pandemic, is to further meet the demand of pharmaceutical products globally in preparation for the big task of transporting medicines, vaccines, blood samples and temperature-sensitive cargo by having an end-to-end cold chain logistics solutions.
The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, has been a distribution and logistics hub in Africa and will be vital to the success of inoculating millions of people against the deadly coronavirus.
Source: Business Insider