Airlines dive into action as vaccine transport starts off across India


India’s Civil Aviation sector is now on its toes for catering to the unprecedented roll-out of India’s mega anti-Covid vaccination drive by providing logistical support.

Nine flights operated by various domestic airlines carried 56.5 lakh doses from Pune to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh.

“Today @airindiain@flyspicejet @goairlinesindia&@IndiGo6E
will operate 9 flights from Pune with 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow & Chandigarh,” Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, said in a tweet.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued guidelines last week to airlines and other aircraft operators for the mass transportation of Covid-19 vaccines.

Authorised airlines can carry the vaccine packed in dry ice in the passenger or the cargo cabin, as the guidelines say.

The transportation of Covid-19 vaccines from the manufacturing units to the place of administration is of paramount importance and under the spotlight now amid the high expectations of the governments, healthcare personnel and the general public.

Sector wise, IndiGo transported 900 kg of vaccine from Pune to Chandigarh and Lucknow via flight 6E 6515 and 6E 882 respectively today.

From Wednesday, it will transport the vaccines from Mumbai to other cities, basis the allocation.

On its part, GoAir operated two flights from Pune to Chennai ferrying 708,000 doses of the vaccine.

“While our efforts to alleviate the complexities of the vaccine movement given the scale of the consignments and logistics, we are taking every possible step to support the institutions and our stakeholders to reach the vaccine in all possible corners of the country.”

~Kaushik Khona, CEO, GoAir

“This responsibility of vaccine shipment recognises the efforts taken by GoAir towards developing its cargo services for critical vaccine movement and motivates us to take the lead in order to remain the preferred choice for the industry”, he said.

A BIAL spokesperson said that 54 boxes of the Covid19 vaccine, consisting of approximately 650,000 doses arrived at Bengaluru airport from Pune “at 1145 hours on Tuesday, January 12, 2021”.

Also, SpiceJet carried the first consignment of Covid-19 vaccine from Pune to Delhi.

The first consignment of Covishield consisted of 2,64,000 doses from Pune to Delhi on SpiceJet flight SG 8937.

With that, the Delhi airport received the first consignment of COVID vaccine.

“Today, we have received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine at our airport. Temperature-controlled facility, ranging from -20 Deg C to +25 Deg C, at our two Cargo terminals can efficiently and safely handle these temperature sensitive vaccines.”

~Videh Kumar Jaipuriar,CEO, DIAL

“We have ‘Cool Chambers and Cool Dollies’ to maintain temperature required for these vaccines at the cargo terminal and during transit between aircraft and terminal or vice versa. Our both the terminals can handle around 5.7 million vials in a day”, Mr Jaipuriar added.

DIAL has collaborated with all the stakeholders including exporters, importers, logistics companies, freight forwarders or agents, government, airlines, cargo terminal operators, to ensure faster turnaround of the vaccines, he said.

Furthermore, SpiceJet transported multiple vaccine consignments from Pune to different Indian cities including 276,000 doses to Guwahati, 996,000 doses to Kolkata, 3,72,000 doses to Hyderabad, 480,000 doses to Bhubaneswar, 648,000 doses to Bengaluru, 552,000 doses to Patna and 408,000 doses to Vijayawada on Tuesday.

India’s mega anti-Covid vaccination campaign is expected to commence from January 16.

“On Day One, SpiceJet is shipping 4 million doses of Covishield vaccine weighing close to 11 tonnes to eight different cities which include Guwahati, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Patna, Vijayawada and Delhi.”

~Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet

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