The UAE-based cargo airline, Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its pharmaceuticals-handling capacity at Dubai International Airport in line with its aim to carry 100 million doses by the end of June.
Emirates SkyCargo has so far transported 75 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on more than 250 flights to over 60 destinations since late 2020. The airlines were one of the first to begin extensive preparations during the early stages of the pandemic for the transportation of these vaccines.
The new extension of the airline’s fully automated cool room at its dedicated pharmaceuticals facility will provide an additional 2,600 square meters of the temperature-controlled environment for storing and handling COVID-19 vaccines and other medicines. The new extension can hold an estimated 60 million to 90 million doses of vaccines at any time.
“We anticipate that there will be an increase in demand to transport vaccines to developing nations during the second half of the year. Already, we have seen a ramping up of COVID-19 vaccine volumes that were transported over the last few weeks in line with increased manufacturing,” Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior vice president for cargo, said.
Last year, Emirates SkyCargo partnered with DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to form the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance aimed at rapidly transporting COVID-19 vaccines through the emirate to the developing countries across the world.
Later, it signed an agreement with UNICEF to expedite the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines under the Covax initiative. Throughout the pandemic, the cargo airline has transported thousands of tonnes of other essential medical supplies including PPE, pharmaceuticals and other equipment on its flights.
Emirates SkyCargo said it would transport urgent COVID-19 relief supplies to India, which has been struggling under the strain of a new virus variant. Under the initiative, the airline is offering any available cargo capacity on its flights from Dubai to nine destinations in India, free of charge, for NGOs transporting medical and relief items.