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Delhi, Hyderabad airports gear up to ferry COVID-19 vaccines

Airports at Delhi and Hyderabad said that their cargo systems are ready to transport COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | December 5, 2020 | Updated 23:14 IST
Delhi, Hyderabad airports gear up to ferry COVID-19 vaccines

With developers getting closer to rolling out vaccines for coronavirus, strategies are being drawn around the world to disseminate them quickly to larger population. In line with this, airports at Delhi and Hyderabad said that their cargo systems are ready to transport COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive.

Delhi airport has two cargo terminals with GDP (Good Distribution Practice)-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo, reported ANI. This will be crucial in handling COVID-19 vaccines as they will have to be kept at lower temperatures to keep them stable. These facilities can handle 1.5 lakh metric tonne cargo per annum while maintaining temperatures between -20 degree Celsius and -25 degree Celsius.

Apart from cool chambers, the airport also has cool dollies at the airside that ensure an unbroken cool chain during temperature-sensitive cargo movement between terminal and aircraft.

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"The terminals have separate gates dedicated for fast movement of vehicles carrying vaccines in and out of the airport. In line with the Ministry of Civil Aviation's vision to create metro airports as transshipment hubs, the Delhi airport has set up a dedicated Transshipment Excellence Centre spread over an area of 6,500 square metres at the airside that will help in the fast movement of vaccines through transshipment," a Delhi airport spokesperson told the news agency.

The QR code-based e-Gate Pass facility at Delhi airport will provide an automated process for paper documentation and reduce human interface, increasing the pace of imported vaccine deliveries.

On the other hand, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) has also claimed preparedness to handle and transport COVID-19 vaccines with facilities such as modern temperature-sensitive pharma and vaccine storage and processing zones. Being located close to one of the pharmaceutical manufacturing hubs in the country, GHAC will play a crucial role in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

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"GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo boasts of India's first Pharma Zone with GDP-certified temperature-controlled facility for handling temperature-sensitive cargo. The terminal is equipped with various temperature zones from -20 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius and with state-of-the-art equipment and cool containers to cater to product-specific requirements," a Hyderabad airport spokesperson told ANI.

The Hyderabad airport has freighter parking stands are merely 50m away from the terminal, minimising ramp exposure timing and ensuring a quick turnaround of the aircraft, ANI reported. The airport was recently equipped with the latest cool dollies to eliminate any temperature excursions and to maintain the unbroken cool chain, the report further said.

The cargo facility at Hyderabad airport also has one of the largest storage facilities in the country for cool containers like envirotainer, c-safe, unicooler, and vaqtainer that offer the service round the clock. It also offers several paperless initiatives like e-reception, e-OOC, e-LEO, e-AWB among others to minimise human interface.

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