If 2020 taught the air cargo world anything, it was that improvisation and creativity were key in creating new business opportunities while air passenger travel was at its greatest decline in the history of air travel.
With the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine trials, major commercial airlines including American, Delta, and United have been testing their temperature controlled shipment capabilities.
In September, American Airlines was certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), recognizing its ability to meet the most stringent industry standards for handling the transportation of pharmaceutical products. Their largest temperature controlled facility is 25,000 square feet at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).
Delta Airlines, which is also certified by the International Air Transport Association for its expertise in safely handling pharmaceutical shipments has been shipping test vaccines since summer 2020. DL has temperature controlled facilities across the country at the following major airports: DTW, LAX, JFK, and SEA.
According to the Wall Street Journal, United Airlines began operating charter flights to ship Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine at Thanksgiving 2020. While all three airlines offer a variety of temperature controlled containers to meet the most precise temperature requirements, both Delta and United recently added the DoKaSch Opticooler for its customer’s use.
One major danger in the shipment of pharmaceutical and biological shipments is the need for a tremendous amount of dry ice, much more than what airlines are generally allowed to carry per flight. In addition, once the flights have landed, the handling and storage of these containers while they await ground transportation is also crucial and highly dangerous.
While passenger travel is slowly increasing, airlines are actively looking for new ways to drive business and it appears that the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine on a global scale will provide them with unique challenges and greater opportunities to drive business growth.