Cargo Carriers Say Passenger Airlines Don’t Need Vaccine Capacity

When it comes to the enormous task of COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the United States, FedEx and UPS will come together and embrace the “divide and rule” strategy. As part of the US government’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’, each trucking and freight company will be responsible for half the country. Addressing the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and SafetyAnd to discuss the logistics of transporting a COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, the leaders of both companies said that national distribution could be handled without involving passenger airlines.

The vaccine in question is the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, which must be stored at or below 70 degrees Celsius. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

FedEx and UPS are ready

According to Airways Magazine, FedEx will deliver the vaccine to the western half of the United States, while UPS will deliver it to the eastern half. While neither company has been confirmed which side it will take, the respective leaders have issued statements on this coordinated effort.

“Of course FedEx and UPS have divided the country in two … We know exactly which states we have and they know which states they have.” -Wes Wheeler, President of Global Healthcare at UPS through Commercial Appeal

FedEx Dc-10
Sources indicate that FedEx will manage vaccine distribution for the western part of the United States, while UPS will handle the east. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

FedEx provided Simple Flying with the following statement:

“FedEx is working closely with Pfizer and other healthcare customers alongside federal, state and local officials to prepare for the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines when they are approved and ready for distribution.” -FedEx carrier

No passenger airlines needed

Although the three major airlines Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines, have all flown test flights in preparation for delivery of the vaccines, FedEx and UPS officials have stated that they believe their companies can handle the distribution. domestic without calling US passenger airlines.

By having well-established delivery systems and infrastructure, both companies are confident that their extensive networks will ensure a fast and fast distribution process.

Last month, Simple Flying reported that United Airlines requested permission to transport more dry ice than is normally allowed to maintain the significantly low temperatures needed to distribute Pfizer’s vaccine. The airline has plans to run chartered cargo services between Brussels International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport to support distribution.

Get together planes
United had already flown the vaccine from Belgium to Chicago. Photo: Getty Images

As for the other two airlines, Delta has warehouses and refrigeration facilities in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York-JFK, and Seattle to house the vaccines, while American Airlines has begun flying vaccine trial flights from Miami to South America in his Boeing. 777-200 aircraft.

Waiting for FDA clearance

All companies and organizations involved in this massive endeavor eagerly await approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which issued the following statement today:

“Following the positive outcome of yesterday’s advisory committee meeting regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the US Food and Drug Administration has informed the sponsor that it will work quickly to finalize and issue an authorization of emergency use. The agency has also notified the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed, so they can execute their plans for the timely distribution of the vaccine. “

Vaccine for COVID-19
There are currently at least two promising candidate vaccines. The Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine has already been approved by the governments of the UK, Canada and Bahrain. Photo: Getty Images

While all the shipping companies and airlines involved work for the good of the public, it is also about getting “a piece of the pie”, as contracts for vaccine distribution mean business and revenue for those involved. We’ll have to wait and see if FedEx and UPS can go ahead with the US distribution without the help of passenger carriers.

Do you think that distribution work should be spread over more organizations? Or, for the sake of simplicity, is it best to keep it at the top two courier / shipping companies? Let us know in the comments.