Airstrike: Airlines Prepare to Give Covid a Vaccine Hit

By Rohit Vaid

New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS): India’s airline industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic attack, is now preparing to fight the virus by providing key logistical support for the deployment of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The industry is expected to play a vital role in the country’s impending anti-Covid offensive through vaccines.

Already in an advanced stage of planning, the industry and especially its leading players have formed dedicated teams, new specialized logistics arms to transport veils safely and efficiently throughout India and potentially around the world.

In particular, the airline industry has the ability to rapidly transport temperature-sensitive vaccines across the country from the pharmaceutical hubs of Hyderabad and Pune.

From a purely business point of view, the integration of cold chains, logistics and last mile delivery will drive the revenue stream from the sector.

Lately, the segment has become a lifesaver for the industry.

“Cargo operations have already picked up pace for airlines in the absence of adequate passenger traffic. And depending on the economy of the vaccine, air travel is a likely option,” said Kinjal Shah, ICRA vice president.

“This can definitely be an additional revenue stream for airlines.”

According to Vasudevan S., Partner, Aviation, KPMG in India: “It is a great business and income generating opportunity for India and it can also create new jobs, but the broader focus should be on nation building and stamping on our worldwide reputation as a trusted ally and business partner. “

In addition, Suman Chowdhury, analytical director of Acuite Ratings & Research, said that: “It is unlikely that an activity of this type will have strong profit margins at least in the initial stage, since it is expected that it is considered more as a corporate social responsibility. (CSR) particularly by the government. “

For their part, some airlines plan to deploy a specific number of freighters, while others have formed a new logistics arm.

One such example is SpiceJet airline, which has partnered with logistics companies to provide comprehensive cold chain solutions for the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Additionally, SpiceJet’s freight arm, SpiceXpress launched a new specialized service, Spice Pharma Pro, dedicated to the transportation of Covid vaccines, drugs, blood samples, and temperature-sensitive cargo.

With Spice Pharma Pro, SpiceXpress has said that it has the ability to transport extremely sensitive drugs, vaccines, blood samples and medications at controlled temperatures ranging from minus 40 degrees Celsius to (plus) 25 degrees Celsius.

For its part, AirAsia India has organized a dedicated cargo services team to assess special logistical requirements, such as temperature controlled containers, that may be required for vaccine transport and is evaluating various measures to support this.

“AirAsia India is experienced in handling different types of commodities, including perishables, and is ready to assist with cargo services for the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines,” said Ankur Garg, AirAsia India Commercial Director.

“Airlines and freight services will have to work with the shorter response times that AirAsia specializes in, to deliver and meet demand.”

Without disclosing details of their own plans, a Vistara spokesperson said: “At Vistara, we are fully committed to extending support to the government and look forward to contributing to this great mission to the best of our ability and our resources.

According to IndiGo, it will evaluate the shipment of Covid-19 vaccines on board its plane.

In addition to airlines, many airports across the country, including the Delhi IGIA, have reported making preparations to receive the vital cargo.