New Delhi: As some of the coronavirus vaccine trials across the world are in their final stages, Indian airports and airlines have geared up to handle the distribution of temperature-sensitive vaccines in the country.
Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and GMR Hyderabad airport’s cargo are set to play a pivotal role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as they are equipped with sophisticated time and temperature-sensitive distribution system.
“Delhi Airport has two cargo terminals with world-class infrastructure that provides GDP (good distribution practices)-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo. With the capacity to handle over 1.5 lakh MT per annum, this facility has state-of-the-art temperature-controlled zones with separate cool chambers ranging from +25 to -20 degree Celsius, which would be extremely conducive for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” a Delhi International Airport Limited spokesperson said.
“There are Cool Dollies at the airside that ensure unbroken cool chain during temperature-sensitive cargo movement between terminal and aircraft. The terminals have separate gates dedicated for fast movement of vehicles carrying vaccines in and out of the airport,” he added.
The emphasis has been laid on quick and efficient transportation and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines whenever they are available.
GMR Hyderabad airport said the terminal is equipped with various temperatures ranging from -20 to +25 degree Celsius with state-of-the-art equipment and cool containers to cater to product-specific requirements.
“GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) boasts of India’s first Pharma Zone with GDP-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo… The Freighter Parking stands are just 50 metres away from the terminal thereby minimizing the ramp exposure timing and ensuring quick turn-around of the aircraft.
“We have recently launched the latest Cool Dollies – which is a Mobile Refrigeration Unit for Airside Transportation designed to eliminate any temperature excursions and to maintain the Unbroken Cool Chain. The GHAC also boasts of one of India’s largest storage facility for Cool Containers like Envirotainer, C-Safe, Unicooler, and Vaqtainer within our premises to make sure the service is available for customer 24×7,” Hyderabad Airport said.
An official of SpiceJet said the airline is fully prepared and ready to handle the COVID-19 vaccine.
The airline spokesperson said the airline has extensive experience in the past and already carries blood samples, which require a temperature-controlled environment.
“Today we have the facility of both our aircraft and our ground support vehicles. We have sufficient capacity to cater to the rise in demand for the COVID-19 vaccine shipments and have prepared the capacity keeping in mind the future. We have been transporting vaccine shipments to various international as well as domestic destinations,” SpiceJet spokesperson told ANI.
“The transportation of these consignments requires cold chain facilities. SpiceXpress offers cargo shipment with a controlled ambient temperature between +25 degrees C to freezing -40 degrees Celsius. The service is suitable for sensitive drugs, vaccines and blood samples and with the extra protection of thermal blankets in the world-class active RKN and RAP containers.” SpiceJet spokesperson said.
Medical experts have said the upcoming coronavirus vaccine will require specific cold storage and controlled temperatures.